Congratulations, planet Earth: Last month was the hottest month ever recorded, according to NASA. And that means 2016 is a shoo-in for hottest year on record, beating 2015 and 2014 before it. Anyone see a devastating pattern?
According to NASA, as reported by Climate Central, this July was .2 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than July 2015, which was, until July 2016, the hottest July on record since temperature recording began in 1880. It also marked the 10th month in a row to break the heat record for its respective month, according to the Guardian.
The reason for all the record breaking is a combination of global warming and El Niño, according to the Guardian. El Niño is the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation, which stirs up and spreads warm water across the Pacific Ocean, leading to higher temperatures across the planet.
However, El Niño only contributes to about 15% of July's temperature increase, climate scientist David Karoly said, according to the Guardian. The rest is from "human-induced climate change."
We'll still feel that temperature increase for about another quarter to a half year, Karoly said, since El Niño's effects tend to lag even after it's dissipated. And, Karoly told the Guardian, "We're not going to set any [temperature] records later this year."
But keep in mind, El Niño's temperature increase was just the cherry on top of our humongous, melting sundae. Even without the storm's influence on global temperature, we still have to contend with the bulk of the problem: man-made climate change. Even if the Paris Agreement — a global initiative to keep the planet from reaching a 2-degree Celsius, or 3.6-degree Fahrenheit, rise — is effective, it still may not be enough to save us from ourselves. In reality, we should universally be shooting to stay under a 1.5-degree Celsius rise.
And what's worse, even though the major contributors to carbon emissions — the United States and China — are on board, the planet might still be looking at a 3.5-degree Celsius change, according to the Climate Interactive research group.
At the rate we're going, we could be looking at the third-straight hottest recorded year. That's an award no one wants.