This past July was the hottest of 1,639 months on record

By Tom Yulsman | August 18, 2016 9:37 pm

July 2016 also was the 379th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th century average


Even though the El Niño warming episode is over, Earth’s heat streak is continuing. Big time.

Both NASA and NOAA have released their verdicts for global temperatures in July (NASA’s here, and NOAA’s here). And both concur that it was the hottest such month on record.

Since July is typically the warmest month of the year globally, that means it was the hottest of all 1,639 months on record.

Let us count other ways in which July 2016 was noteworthy:

  • It marks the 15th straight month that the global temperature record has been broken.
  • This is the longest such streak in the 137-year record.
  • July marks the 40th consecutive such month with temperatures that were at least nominally above the 20th century average.
  • The last time July’s global average temperatures were below average was back in 1976.

This graph shows how global average temperatures during each July since 1880 have varied from the long-term average. (Source: NOAA)

El Niño gave a boost to global temperatures during the past two years. But it’s gone. Yet the heat doesn’t seem to be relenting.

I just have to say that I find this more than just a bit unsettling.



ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.


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