Visitors to the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, endured temperatures around 100 degrees this July. Charlie Riedel/AP

August and July tied for the warmest months globally in 136 years of records.

The planet’s transformation into an oven in which you could steam a ham draws closer with news that August tied for the warmest month in known history.

The global average temperature was 0.98 degrees Celsius above the mean temperature for August, and 0.16 degrees warmer than the last record-hot August in 2014, according to an analysis from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The month wound up tying with July 2016 for the warmest in modern records, which stretch back 136 years, and propels the Earth toward what’s likely to be the hottest-ever year on the books.

Places that endured unusual torridness include the Northeast U.S. and Alaska, western Russia, China, and much of Antarctica. Areas with abnormal coolness include… well, there weren’t many, as shown in this map of August’s heat spikes from NASA:

The incredible warmth was unusual in that seasonal temperatures around the world usually top out in July, not August, too. It also probably played a role in the devastating flooding that hit Louisiana in the middle of the month, according to NOAA. Here’s more from Goddard:

“Monthly rankings, which vary by only a few hundredths of a degree, are inherently fragile,” said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt. “We stress that the long-term trends are the most important for understanding the ongoing changes that are affecting our planet.”

The record warm August continued a streak of 11 consecutive months dating back to October 2015 that have set new monthly high-temperature records. The monthly analysis by the GISS team is assembled from publicly available data acquired by about 6,300 meteorological stations around the world, ship- and buoy-based instruments measuring sea surface temperature, and Antarctic research stations. The modern global temperature record begins around 1880 because previous observations didn’t cover enough of the planet.

NASA GISS

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    The Future of the City Is Childless

    America’s urban rebirth is missing something key—actual births.

  2. A photo of anti-gentrification graffiti in Washington, D.C.
    Equity

    The Hidden Winners in Neighborhood Gentrification

    A new study claims the effects of neighborhood change on original lower-income residents are largely positive, despite fears of spiking rents and displacement.

  3. a photo of the First Pasadena State Bank building, designed by Texas modernist architects MacKie and Kamrath. It will be demolished on July 21.
    Design

    The Lonely Death of a South Texas Skyscraper

    The First Pasadena State Bank, a 12-story modernist tower inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, has dominated this small town near Houston since 1962.

  4. an aerial photo of urban traffic at night
    Transportation

    The Surprisingly High-Stakes Fight Over a Traffic-Taming ‘Digital Twin’

    Why are some mobility experts spooked by this plan to develop a data standard that would allow cities to build a real-time traffic control system?

  5. Equity

    Berlin’s Plan to Preserve Affordable Apartments: Buy Them

    To ward off rent hikes and evictions at the hands of new building owners, the city will purchase about 700 homes the much-coveted Karl Marx Allee neighborhood.

×