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Be afraid: July was the hottest month known to mankind

Nihar Gokhale | Updated on: 24 August 2015, 11:52 IST

July 2015 was the hottest month on earth in more than a century. The worrying number comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an American government agency that has data for land and ocean surface temperatures since 1880.

This is not good news for anyone. It reinforces that we are far from escaping the dangers of climate change. It is highlights the failure of the past 20 attempts made by all countries to agree on a climate plan.

Earlier this week, the agency found that the average temperature in July (of land and sea taken together) was 16.61 degrees Celsius - the highest in 136 years.

The data includes figures on how much the temperatures have differed from the average for the 20th century. It is clear that each passing year, earth's climate is getting hotter.

Oceans heating up

That's not all. Ocean temperatures were at their highest level since 1880, while land temperatures were the sixth highest.

High ocean temperature is never good news. This is responsible for some of the most disastrous effects of climate change.

Warm waters melt polar ice, causing sea levels to rise. They are known to cause extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, to happen more frequently and with more power. They are also harmful to marine life.

First published: 24 August 2015, 11:52 IST
Nihar Gokhale @nihargokhale

Nihar is a reporter with Catch, writing about the environment, water, and other public policy matters. He wrote about stock markets for a business daily before pursuing an interdisciplinary Master's degree in environmental and ecological economics. He likes listening to classical, folk and jazz music and dreams of learning to play the saxophone.