The world experienced the warmest August on record, and the planet is still on pace for the hottest year in measurements that date back to the late 1800s, according to new federal data released Thursday.
Just in from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: The global average temperature over land and ocean surfaces combined was 1.58 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 20th-century average, and it beat the previous previous August record set in 2014 by 0.16 degrees.
August wasn’t the only steamy month. According to NOAA, it was the warmest summer, too, as the June-to-August stretch beat out last year’s previous record.
The new findings are consistent with other data sets. Mashable’s Andrew Freedman reported Wednesday that both NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency data show the hottest summer on record.
The same NOAA report out Thursday shows that 2015 has been the hottest year on record thus far, besting the previous January-to-August record set in 2010. Global temperatures to date this year have been 1.51 degrees above the 20th-century average, the agency said.
All in all, 2015 looks very likely to break the record as the hottest year.
Several NOAA experts explored the odds in a blog post Thursday.
“[T]he historical data suggest it would take a remarkable and abrupt reversal in the NOAAGlobalTemp time series over the remainder of the year to upend 2015’s drive toward record-breaking status. In other words, it appears extremely unlikely that 2015 will lose its commanding lead,” they write.
One major environmental group quickly seized on the new data to try and boost momentum for reaching a meaningful global-warming accord at the high-stakes international climate talks in Paris later this year.
“It’s up to world leaders: 2015 could go down as merely another record-breaking year of warming and its costly consequences, or it could also be the pivotal year of progress in the fight against climate change,” said Lou Leonard, vice president for climate change at the World Wildlife Fund.