The latest record – beating the previously record for the hottest month on record, a year earlier – makes it almost inevitable that 2016 will see the world will notch up its third consecutive annual temperature record.
“The scary thing is that we’re moving into an era where it will be a surprise when each new month or year isn’t the hottest on record,” said Chris Field, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution and Stanford University.
Nasa’s results, which combine sea surface temperature and air temperature on land, showed July 2016 was 0.84C hotter than the 1951 to 1980 average for July, and 0.11C hotter than the previous record set in July 2015.
The string of record monthly temperatures was caused by a combination of global warming and El Nino, a weather phenomenon which spreads warm water across the Pacific, giving a boost to global temperatures.
This new record and all the records that have been broken recently tell one cohesive story, said Nasa’s chief climate scientist Gavin Smith. “The planet is getting warmer. It’s important for what it tells us about the future,” he said.