heat records have been broken in large swaths of the Western world. Last June we saw record breaking heat but this June was hotter still. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, June 2015 was the hottest June on record. Record breaking temperatures in the first half of the year show no signs of abating making it a near certainty that 2015 will eclipse 2014 as the hottest year on record.
These heat records are corroborated by NASA. According to NASA's data June 2015 was the hottest June on record globally, this includes global land and ocean temperatures. They also indicate that the first half of the year was the warmest on record and they further predict that we are on a path to see the hottest year on record in 2015.
A strengthening El Niño offers the strongest explanation for current levels of heat and the single biggest reason why meteorologists are forecasting the hottest year on record in 2015. The already strong El Niño is strengthening raising concerns about the levels of heat we can expect in the remainder of this year and early next year. Thus far the El Niño effect has already raised ocean surface temperatures in the Pacific and this is impacting global atmospheric patterns. Given that the El Niño effect is strongest between December and February it is very likely to strengthen before it weakens. This would take us well into 2016.
In the contiguous US the average temperature in June was 1.6°C (2.9°F) above the 20th century average, making it the second hottest June on record. The heat extends all the way up through Canada to Alaska which has set a number of heat records in May and June. All of this heat has spawned a vast number of forest fires in the western parts of North America.
According to the Twitter feed of the International Research Institute (IRI) for Climate & Society, “Last week’s NINO3.4 temps were ~+1.5. If that level holds for the month of July, the #ElNino will be considered a strong event” and “#ElNino forecast is off the charts! Both dynam & stats models calling for stronger event than last month.”
The evidence for global warming has long been clear. Each consecutive month and each consecutive year shows that not only are we consistently warmer than global averages we are trending hotter over time.
Extreme Heat in the Western World Marks the Start of Summer 2015
At Least 30 Years of Above Average Temperatures
Heat Records Tell the Story of Climate Change
2014 is the Hottest Year in Recorded History
How Much Heat is Required to Spur Global Action?
Record Breaking Heat Suggests Accelerated Warming
Interactive Map - Summer Heat in the US
Freak Weather: Alaska is Warmer than Alabama
James Hansen's 2012 Research Linking Global Warming and Extreme Weather