On Sunday, NASA announced that September 2014 was the hottest September in recorded history.
This announcement follows previous reports from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the hottest May, June and August since consistent records for temperatures began in the late 19th century. July 2014 was only the fourth hottest in terms of global surface temperatures but tied with 2009 for the hottest ocean surface temperature on record.
This latest report caps off the hottest summer to date, and the hottest six-month span of time ever recorded. NASA’s data shows that global average temperature was 58.586 degrees Fahrenheit, 1.386 degrees higher than the recorded average between 1951 and 1980.
While discrete statements are limited to measurements dating back to 1880, the New York Times reports that a recent reconstruction of regional and global temperatures in the past 11,300 years indicates that 2014 might have the highest global temperatures in nearly four millennia. Unsurprisingly, NOAA projections indicate that 2014 could, by year’s end, be the hottest year in known history.
This record-setting warmth comes in spite of the fact that an El Nino warming pattern is not set to begin until later this month at the earliest. As ThinkProgress points out, most record-setting temperatures are the result of human-caused warming trends combined with regional El Nino patterns. While the temperatures on the United States’ eastern seaboard were relatively average this September, the Western states saw significantly above average temperatures, a possible contributing factor to the rash of wildfires that plagued California during the month.
According to Climate Central, the previous record for the hottest September was a tie between 2005 and 2012. The last below-average September was in 1976.