In more than 135 years of global temperature data, four of the five hottest months on record all happened in 2015: February, March, May and now June.
This has been the hottest start to a year by far, according to data released today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The record heat is likely to continue as an already strong El Niño weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean continues to intensify, ripping more heat into the atmosphere. This monster El Niño may itself be on track to break records.
Results from the world’s top monitoring agencies vary slightly. NOAA and the Japan Meteorological Agency both had June as the hottest month on record. NASA had it as tied with 1998 for the hottest. All three agencies agree that there has never been a hotter start to the year than the past six months.
The heat was experienced differently across the world, but few places escaped it altogether.
This year’s heat is a continuation of trends that made 2014 the hottest on record. The blistering start to 2015 may be just the beginning. The National Weather Service predicts that the unusually warm waters of the El Niño have a 90 percent chance of persisting through the 2015-2016 winter and an 80 percent chance of lasting through next spring.
The most powerful El Niño on record was in 1997-1998. This year’s may rival it. Even if it doesn’t, 2015 is well on its way to breaking the heat record.