The One Shocking Graph Everyone Under 28 Needs to See

Editor's note: This story is part of PolicyMic's Millennials Take On Climate Change series this week.

If you're 28 or younger, you've never lived through a single month of below-average global temperatures.

That's right: According to new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this June was the 340th consecutive month of planet-wide temperatures that were higher than the 20th-century average.

In fact, the NOAA reports that this June was the fifth hottest June in terms of combined land/ocean temperatures since 1918. (A NASA study shows the month to be the second hottest since 1880.) In other words, June just keeps getting hotter and hotter.

Image courtesy of NOAA.

But it wasn't just June that was above average this year. The first half of 2013 has been one of the hottest January-June periods on record. The vast majority of the Earth's surface saw high temperature anomalies, while only a few areas like Spain and the UK witnessed cooler temperatures.

Image courtesy of NOAA.

But what does all this data mean for us humans? With more countries reporting higher temperatures than ever before, an entire generation has grown up during a long-term heat wave. In fact, the last time that the global average of land and ocean temperatures was below long-term levels was in February 1985.

The rising global temperatures have also given rise to other long-term environmental trends. Currently, 40% of the continental U.S. is in drought, and the Arctic ice caps are melting faster than ever.

As environmental writer Philip Bump wrote in Grist, "At this point, we’re just doctors taking a fading pulse. Or, I suppose, tracking a rising fever."

Depressing, but true.

 

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