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. Rescue crews and observers on top of the rubble from a collapsed building that fell in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City.
    Environment

    A Brigade of Architects and Engineers Rushed to Assess Earthquake Damage in Mexico City

    La Casa del Arquitecto became the headquarters for highly skilled urbanists looking to help and determine why some buildings suffered more spectacularly than others.

  2. Equity

    What the New Urban Anchors Owe Their Cities

    Corporations like Google and Amazon reap the spoils of winner-take-all urbanism. Here’s how they can also bear greater responsibility.

  3. Transportation

    London Dumps Uber

    The city vows to revoke the ride-hailing giant’s license, citing public safety concerns. But the legal battle may be only starting.

  4. Black and white West Charlotte High School students pose together in and around their school bus in 1972.
    Equity

    How America's Most Integrated School Segregated Again

    A new book tracks how a Charlotte, North Carolina, high school went from an integration success story to the city’s most isolated and impoverished school.

  5. Attendees at a new product announcement event at Apple's campus in Cupertino, California.
    POV

    What Silicon Valley Doesn't Get About People

    Poor planning didn’t just aggravate the area’s housing problem: It helped create the Valley’s growing empathy gap.