It's getting hotter: 2 separate studies show hottest-ever August

15 September 2016

It is no longer news that global average temperature is rising by the year, with every year bringing new record highs. Now, scientists monitoring temperature at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York have revealed that August 2016 was the warmest August in 136 years of modern record-keeping.

Although the seasonal temperature cycle typically peaks in July, August 2016 wound up tied with July 2016 for the warmest month ever recorded. The temperature last month was 0.16 degrees Celsius warmer than the previous warmest August in 2014. Last month also was 0.98 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean August temperature from 1951-1980.

 ''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 last 11 months since October 2015 have been warmest months in the entire history of record-keeping that spans over 100 years. 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.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that monitors weather separately reveals that every month since May 2015 has been the hottest version of that month ever.

NASA said in a statement that we cannot assume we have witnessed 11 straight hottest months on the Earth. In the past, Earth must have seen longer and hotter periods in the 4.5 billion-year-old history.

''The main issue is the long term trend shows the planet is 1 degree Celsius almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it was during the 19th century. That has a very large impact on polar ice, on agriculture, on coastal erosion, on water safety. It's a century-long trend at this point,'' said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies.

Both the agencies, NASA and NOAA, monitor weather separately and have different techniques but they both point towards the warmest months, which is scary. And the situation is likely to get even worse if nothing is done to control it now.

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