It’s getting pretty hard to keep track of all the heat records we’ve been breaking recently, isn’t it? Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
NOAA’s latest data reveal we just wrapped up the hottest winter the U.S. has ever seen—just like last summer (which also broke its season record), last year (another record-smasher), the year before that, and a whole chain of recent individual hottest months, knocking each out one after the other like dominoes.
It’s almost like there’s a pattern in all this, isn’t it? Almost as though our planet was locked into some sort of terrible, human-induced cycle of gradual warming that is slowly boiling away our ozone shield, drying out our fields, and endangering the very fabric of life as we know it, as we slide headlong into some terrifying post-apocalypse of our own making...
Anyway, we’ll be back to update you here next month (or shortly thereafter), when we’ve got another new broken heat record to look back on.
UPDATE April 19, 2:12 pm: Sorry, February, you thought you were pretty hot, but March laughs at your attempts at hot temperatures. According to NOAA’s latest data, the new hottest month ever was this March, marking the 11th consecutive month in a row that record has been broken.
Not only was it a new record, it’s actually a record within a record. This 11-month streak gives us the longest unbroken climb of record-setting temperatures ever—at least until next month rolls along.
UPDATE May 18, 1:15 pm: Congratulations, humanity—we did it! (It, in this case, being cooking our planet into a slow rolling boil.) NOAA’s latest climate update reveals that we just wrapped up the hottest April ever recorded. That gives us twelve consecutive months—a full year—in which every single month set a new temperature record.
Will next month make thirteen? Probably! See you then, my warm friends.
UPDATE June 20, 8:45 am: And here we are at lucky number 13 of the hottest consecutive months ever recorded—if by “luck” you mean an unstoppably rising heat wave, accompanied by an unsavory mix of both droughts and floods. (Note: This is no one’s definition of luck.)
Besides hitting the warmest May ever recorded, NOAA’s new climate update also has us continuing well on our way to making 2016, and not 2015, the hottest year ever. It’s going to be a great year, folks. (Note: It will not be a great year.)
UPDATE July 8, 9:55 am: If you were taking a little time to process the news of our unbroken 13-month streak of broken heat records, don’t bother. NOAA just declared this past June to be the hottest one ever for the planet, so as of today, it’s 14 months (and climbing).
But it wasn’t just the heat that had NOAA nervous, the agency also took a moment to point out that the weather had just been plain weird this year. So far, we’ve had at least 8 huge weather disasters—including floods, fires, and raging storms—each of which caused damages of at least $1 billion. Normally, by this time of year, we’d have seen fewer than three.
See you in month 15—assuming the fire-floods haven’t taken us all by then.
CORRECTION 7/8/16: The June dataset referenced in the latest update was for the United States, not the globe. It was the hottest June on record for the contiguous US, with none of the lower 48 seeing below average temperatures. We apologize for the error and will update with global data later in the month.
This piece was originally posted on March 8, 2016. It was updated on April 19 and May 18 and June 20 and July 8...and will keep right on being updated with the new records.