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July was warmest month on Earth in 136 years, NOAA says

July was warmest month on Earth in 136 years, NOAA says

Another month, another record high for global temperatures, U.S. government scientists announced Thursday.

Earth's average surface temperature for the month of July was 61.86 degrees Fahrenheit (or 16.61 degrees Celsius). That made July the hottest month since meteorologists began keeping track way back in 1880, according to a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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July's average temperature was 1.46 degrees F higher than the average for the 20th century and 0.14 degrees F above the previously hottest month, which occurred in 1998.

The new record was fueled by the oceans. Across the globe, the average sea surface temperature in July was 62.85 degrees F, 0.13 degrees higher than the previous monthly record (set in July 2014) and 1.35 degrees higher than the average for the 20th century. All 10 of the hottest months for sea surface temperatures have occurred since April 2014, the NOAA report noted.

Temperatures on land contributed too, coming in 1.73 degrees F above the 20th century average. That was high enough to rank as the sixth-hottest July on land since 1880, NOAA said.

Africa experienced its second-hottest July on record, with new records set in some eastern and central regions of the continent. Portions of northern South America, southern Europe, central Asia and the western U.S. also saw record high temperatures, according to the report.

The first seven months of the year ranked as the hottest January-to-July period since records began in 1880, edging out the previous record high set in 2010 by 0.16 degrees F. Average surface temperatures for both land and sea set new records as well, NOAA said.

Since the start of the year, "every major ocean basin observed record warmth in some areas," the report said.

The report bolstered predictions from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center that an El Niño is likely later this year. In July, surface temperatures in the central Pacific around the equator were about 1.8 degrees F higher than the recent 30-year average.

Last week, the Climate Prediction Center said the chances that the Northern Hemisphere will experience El Niño conditions this winter were greater than 90%. The odds that it will continue into the spring stand at about 85%, the CPC said in a report.

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