July 2015 was the hottest since we’ve been keeping records, according to separate data from both NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Japan Meteorological Agency. Here’s the chart of July temperatures, via the Japan Meteorological Society — that last gray dot on the right is July 2015:
The summer has been, as Mashable notes, brutal. Though officially linking summer heat waves or events like hurricanes to climate change is nigh impossible — and clear cause-effect relationships are tough — what’s evident is that such events are much more potent than you’d expect, statistically speaking, and are forecasted to get even worse.
On a year-to-year basis, 2014 was the hottest on record; of the top 15 all-time hot years, 13 of them have happened since 2000.
We’re on track to beat last year’s high temps, too. Like July, according to the JMA, this June was the hottest, as was May; the 2015-2016 El Niño is shaping up to be a monster, and the warming Pacific waters will have global ramifications. Such a similarly powerful El Niño occurred between 1997 and 1998, and if the past is any indication (July ‘98 was very hot), July 2016 just might be the hottest yet.