U.S. Gov’t. Says: ‘July 2015 was warmest month ever recorded for the globe’

Eric Zuesse

To global-warming-deniers such as the Koch brothers and Exxon/Mobil, the news that was reported on 20 August 2015 must be just a ‘coincidence,’ but the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported then that July 2015 was “the all-time highest monthly temperature” in this planet’s entire scientifically recorded record, which started in 1880.

Furthermore: “Global oceans record warm for July; January-July 2015 also record warm.”

The more detailed version of the report says: 

The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for July 2015 was the highest for July in the 136-year period of record, at 0.81°C (1.46°F) above the 20th century average of 15.8°C (60.4°F), surpassing the previous record set in 1998 by 0.08°C (0.14°F). As July is climatologically the warmest month of the year globally, this monthly global temperature of 16.61°C (61.86°F) was also the highest among all 1627 months in the record that began in January 1880. The July temperature is currently increasing at an average rate of 0.65°C (1.17°F) per century. …

For the oceans, the July global sea surface temperature was 0.75°C (1.35°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F), the highest departure not only for July, but for any month on record. The10 highest monthly departures from average for the oceans have all occurred in the past 16 months (since April 2014).

Back on June 4th, NOAA had reported, in a refereed article published in the leading scientific journal, Science (which is published by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science), that:

an updated global surface temperature analysis … reveals that global trends are higher than those reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, especially in recent decades, and that the central estimate for the rate of warming during the first 15 years of the 21st century is at least as great as the last half of the 20th century. These results do not support the notion of a “slowdown” in the increase of global surface temperature.

As is typical for academic scientific articles, this one understated what was actually found. What was actually found is simply inconsistent with the notion of a ‘slowdown’ in the increase of global surface temperature.

Here is how the NOAA research-team itself summarized their findings in a press release from NOAA on June 4th, which was titled, “Data show no recent slowdown in global warming”:

A new study published online today in the journal Science finds that the rate of global warming during the last 15 years has been as fast as or faster than that seen during the latter half of the 20th Century. The study refutes the notion that there has been a slowdown or “hiatus” in the rate of global warming in recent years. …

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, released in stages between September 2013 and November 2014, concluded that the upward global surface temperature trend from 1998­­-2012 was markedly lower than the trend from 1951-2012.

Since the release of the IPCC report, NOAA scientists have made significant improvements in the calculation of trends. … The calculations also use improved versions of both sea surface temperature and land surface air temperature datasets. One of the most substantial improvements is a correction that accounts for the difference in data collected from buoys and ship-based data.

Science is constantly improving its methods, and, consequently, the accuracy of its observations. These changes in the findings are not the result of errors; they are the result of progress – progress (improvements) in the methodology.

As I had noted on August 20th, headlining “The Latest Science on Global Warming,” the latest findings on global warming are “bleak.” The heat-up of this planet has been consistently under-estimated by scientists; it has consistently turned out to be at the extreme high end of the Bell curve of likelihoods of where we are heading. We are heading into catastrophe faster than has been projected by scientists.

People who deny that global warming even exists are a combination of liars and their suckers, because the scientific evidence on the question is clear and overwhelming. And people who speculate that global warming will be good not bad are insane. Increased desertification, increased hurricanes and flooding downpours washing away topsoil, warmer and more acidic oceans, underwater coastal cities, surging migrations from equatorial regions toward the more-polar regions, record die-offs of existing species of plants and animals, and collapsing agriculture, are not good; they are horrific.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.