September 2016 was the hottest month on record. Again.
Last month was the hottest September on record — which means that 11 of the last 12 months have broken heat records. The Earth is officially getting hotter, people, and it's not good news.
According to data released on Monday by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, this past month was the warmest September in the 136 years since record-keeping began for this kind of data. It beat out September of 2014, the previous record-holder, by 0.004 degrees Celsius, which NASA called a "razor thin" margin. But it's undeniably true that, since last October, every month except one has set a new monthly high-temperature record.
In the NASA press release, GISS director Gavin Schmidt stressed that, "while monthly rankings are newsworthy, they are not nearly as important as long-term trends." But the long-term trends are disheartening as well.
According to the 2014 National Climate Assessment, a report compiled by a team of more than 300 experts, temperatures have increased at the Earth's surface, in the atmosphere and in the oceans over recent decades, while snow and ice cover have decreased. Sea levels are rising, season lengths are changing and "increasing trends in extremes of heat and heavy precipitation events" have been been observed globally, according to the NCA's report. According to the NCA, "the conclusion that warming of our planet is unequivocal." An extra-hot September is just the tip of the (melting) iceberg.