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article image2015 to go down in record books as the hottest year on record

By Karen Graham     Sep 17, 2015 in Environment
In sports, records are made to be broken, but with global temperatures continuing to rise, the record-breaking heat, month after month, is beginning to sound like a "broken-record."
New data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today shows that August was the hottest month on record, and the summer months of June through August were the warmest months on the planet.
Topping those records, NOAA announced that the first eight months of 2015 have also set a record for the hottest period both on land and the sea, according to the Associated Press.
This summer is the fifth straight record hot season in a row, as well as being the fourth record hot month in a row. NOAA scientists say with near certainty that 2015 will break 2014's record as being the hottest year ever recorded. Only two months in 2015, January and April failed to set records.
With records going back to 1880, the last time a monthly cold record was broken was in 1918. But heat records are a different matter. Since 2000, there have been 30 monthly heat records broken and 11 seasonal heat records broken.
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NOAA/NCEI
"For scientists, these are just a few more data points in an increasingly long list of broken records (that) is due to warming temperatures," Texas Tech climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe said in an email. "As individuals, though, this is yet another reminder of the impact our unprecedented and inadvertent experiment — an experiment that began with the Industrial Revolution — is having on our planet today."
Scientists are saying anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change and the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) are to blame for the increasing temperatures. Deke Arndt, the global monitoring chief for NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, likens global warming to steadily climbing a set of stairs, and El Nino as climbing those stairs on tippy-toes, says the Star Tribune.
NOAA meteorologists calculate that there is a 97 percent chance that 2015 will break 2014's record for being the hottest year. But Arndt says that was before August's temperature average was factored in. August makes it more likely, he said.
Arndt said that to avoid being the warmest year on record, 2015's global climate would have to average near the 20th century average, something that hasn't been seen since the 1980s. "We would have to see some really unusual [cold]," he said.
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The year-to-date global average surface temperature on both land and the oceans was 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit (0.84 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century average, says NOAA. Data and information from NOAA, NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency, show that South America and parts of North America, Africa, Europe and Asia all experienced record heat during the first eight months of 2015.
Mashable points out that temperatures have risen in lock-step with greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere. The levels are the highest in human history. The big difference in global warming today is that humans are responsible, unlike previous warming periods where natural factors like volcanism, changes in the Earth's orbit and other sources came into play.
More about recordbreaking heat, NOAA, hottest year on record, rl nino, anthropogenic global warming