The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has determined that global heat records were broken in August, the entire summer, and the first eight months of 2015. Meteorologists say that it is almost certain that 2015 will surpass 2014 as the hottest year on record. So far this year, six months have broken records; January and April were the only ones that did not. NOAA also reports that since 2000, global temperatures have broken monthly heat records 30 times and seasonal heat records 11 times.
Scientists attribute the record-breaking heat in 2015 to a combination of anthropogenic climate change and the El Nino effect, a warming of the equatorial Pacific Ocean that changes weather worldwide. Deke Arndt of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information explains that global warming is like the steady climbing of stairs and the El Nino “is like standing on your tippy toes” while climbing those stairs.