July Was The Hottest Month on Record

August 17th 2015

Nicole Charky

July 2015 was the hottest July on record, NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency reported on Monday. The records date back to 1900, according to Slate.

This temperature chart from Japan Meteorological Agency shows the dramatic changes:

Monthly Anomalies of Global Average Surface Temperature in July

As Slate explains, by looking at the last dot on the right, you can see that July 2015 is the hottest on record since 1891, and that the hottest Julys have happened in the past few years. The year 1998 was an outlier and second hottest July on record. It's important to note that because 1998 was a strong El Niño year, and years with El Niños tend to be hotter. As an El Niño is reportedly strengthening right now, there are indicators that it could pick up speed by fall, lasting through winter 2016.

Here's how the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines El Niño:

"El Niño is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, as opposed to La Niña, which characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific. El Niño is an oscillation of the ocean-atmosphere system in the tropical Pacific having important consequences for weather around the globe.

"Among these consequences are increased rainfall across the southern tier of the US and in Peru, which has caused destructive flooding, and drought in the West Pacific, sometimes associated with devastating brush fires in Australia. Observations of conditions in the tropical Pacific are considered essential for the prediction of short term (a few months to 1 year) climate variations."

As ATTN: previously reported last month month before, June 2015 was tied with 1998 for the hottest June on record, and puts 2015 on course to be "the hottest year on record"—especially because of the predicted upcoming El Niño, according NASA data released earlier this summer.

Scientists are increasingly predicting that El Niño is getting stronger:

If El Niño conditions continue as predicted, the trend of increasing temperatures is likely to continue, ThinkProgress reports.