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August marks ongoing trend of record-breaking heat for the globe

September 20, 2016
Climate collage.

Put away your party hats: August marks a not-so-sweet 16 months of record warmth for the globe, the longest such streak in 137 years.  

August 2016 was 1.66 degrees F above the 20th-century average, breaking last years’ record for the warmest August on record by 0.09 degrees F, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The June–August seasonal temperature was 1.6 degrees F above average, surpassing the heat record for this period set in 2015 by 0.07 degrees.  

For the year to date, the average global temperature was 1.82 degrees F above average, also breaking the heat record set in 2015 by 0.29 degrees.  

August 2016 was another record-breaking month for the globe.
World map of significant global climate extreme events in August 2016
August 2016 was another record-breaking month for the globe. (NOAA NCEI)

More notable findings around the world include:

  • The globally averaged sea surface temperature was second warmest on record for August and warmest on record for both the season (June–August) and the year to date (January–August).
  • The globally averaged land surface temperature was record high for August, the season (June–August) and the year to date (January–August). 
  • Record-warm continents: Africa and Asia had their warmest August; South America had its second; North America its sixth; Europe its 10th; and Oceania its 19th. 
  • The average Arctic sea ice extent for August was 23.1 percent below the 1981–2010 average. This was the fourth smallest August extent since records began in 1979. 
  • The average Antarctic sea ice extent for August was 0.2 percent above the 1981–2010 average, the 19th largest on record for the month. 

More: Access NOAA’s report and download images by visiting the NCEI website.

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