If you felt the heat this past July, you are hardly alone.
July saw the highest average temperatures since record-keeping began — globally, not just the United States — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Thursday.
Globally, the first seven months of the year also had all-time record highs. The latest global temperature data make it likely that 2015 will be the hottest year on record, the agency said.
The NOAA’s findings follow reports by NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency, which reached the same conclusion using their own data.
Thursday’s report “is reaffirming what we already know,” NOAA Climate Scientist Jake Crouch said. “The world is warming. It’s continuing to warm.”
Data from the NOAA dates back to 1880, but it is possible that July was the hottest month in at least 4,000 years. Climate research suggests these are likely the hottest temperatures the Earth has seen since the Bronze Age.
The prediction for 2015 becoming the hottest year on record, is based upon observed temperatures so far, plus the coming El Niño event.
The NOAA predicts that a strong El Niño is building, one that could rival the intensity of the record 1997 event that influenced weather-related havoc across the globe, from mudslides in California to fires in Australia.
“There is a greater than 90% chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-16, and around an 85% chance it will last into early spring 2016,” NOAA said in a statement.