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The record-breaking heat of June 2015 means this could be Earth’s warmest year in history

Visitors crowd an artificial wave swimming pool at a tourist resort to escape the summer heat in Daying county of Suining, Sichuan province, China.
By Svati Kirsten Narula
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Temperatures across the globe last month were higher than any previous June since record-keeping began in 1880. Three meteorological agencies have concluded that June 2015 was the warmest June ever recorded, and that 2015 is on track to have the hottest average surface temperatures in history.

The earth’s average global surface temperature in June 2015 was 0.88 degrees Celsius higher than the 20th century average. That compares to June 2014, which was 0.6 degrees Celsius higher than the century’s average.

As always, higher global averages don’t preclude lower or normal averages in isolated regions. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s map, below, points to a particularly cool June in Scandanavia.

Click to enlarge.

But those anomalies did not even come close to offsetting abnormally high temperatures for the rest of the world:

Click to enlarge.

Although the record temperatures in June come amid rising greenhouse gas emissions that have caused steadily rising temperatures over the last century, the heatwave can also be attributed to one of the strongest El Niño events of the past half-century. An El Niño system generates a band of warm water in the Pacific. The circulation of this warm ocean water raises sea surface temperatures and sets off a ripple of other weather patterns.

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