Surprise, surprise: Last month was the hottest August ever recorded, marking the 11th straight month that global heat records have been shattered, according to NASA data.
The agency broke the bad, though perhaps not entirely unexpected, news on Monday. August had a global average surface temperature of about 1.76 degrees Fahrenheit above average, NASA said. It also tied with July as the warmest month ever recorded since record-keeping began in 1880.
“We are well on our way to the warmest year recorded,” the Union of Concerned Scientists wrote in an email to The Huffington Post this week.
If deemed the hottest year ever, 2016 will be the third year in a row to boast this unfortunate title.
But though every month — and each year — appears to bring the same news about “hottest” this and that, experts are warning against apathy and fatigue regarding record-breaking temperatures.
“While there may be a tendency to be complacent about the recurring record temperatures, with each month come more climate-related consequences that cannot be ignored,” wrote UCS climate scientist Astrid Caldas in a blog post.
Climate change is not a future problem, but rather one that we are actively dealing with.
“We are feeling climate change impacts right here, right now,” Caldas continued. “From wildfires and droughts to devastating floods, climate change fingerprint is all around us and does play a role in making events more extreme. An example are this summer’s floods in Louisiana, caused by intense rains which were “at least 40 percent more likely to happen because of climate change,” according to research.
Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, stressed this week that it’s long-term trends, rather than monthly readings, that “are the most important for understanding the ongoing changes that are affecting our planet.”
NASA data shows a clear upward trend in global temperatures since 1880. The average global temperature has risen about 1.4 degrees F since then.