Another month, another record temperature. In a report published by NASA on Monday, it was revealed that the month of August, 2016, was the warmest August in recorded history, or in 136 years. The report came from the space agency’s scientists at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, or GISS, in New York, who analyze the planet’s monthly global temperatures.
Although the seasonal temperature cycle typically peaks in the month of July, August of this year rose and tied with July 2016 for the warmest month ever recorded. August 2016 was 0.16 degrees Celsius warmer than the previous August record holder, in 2014. For comparison, August 2016 was 0.98 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean August temperature from the years 1951 to 1980.
In an interview, GISS Director Gavin Schmidt explained that the monthly rankings, which vary only by a few hundredths of a degree, are “inherently fragile.” He also underlined that the long-term trends (of monthly temperatures) are the most important for understanding the changes that affect the whole planet.
The record hottest August 2016 continued a streak of eleven consecutive months dating back to October, 2015, that have set new monthly high-temperature records, the report added.
The analysis from NASA GISS scientists came several days after NOAA–or, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration–reported that the Summer of 2016 in the United States was the fifth hottest on record.
NOAA said the U.S. average summer temperature was 73.5 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2.1 degrees above average. Every state in the continental United States (and Alaska) were warmer than average this summer. In their records, the month of August was the 17th warmest with an average temperature across the Lower 48 states of 73.6 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 1.5 degrees above the average temperature. Twenty-four states were also much warmer than their average.
The year to date, or from the months of January to August 2016, for the contiguous United States was the 3rd warmest on record with an average temperature of 56.7 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2.8 degrees above average. All Lower 48 states, including the state of Alaska, have observed above-average temperatures during the same eight-month period.