See Why 2015 May Be the Hottest Year Ever

Already, the first six months of 2015 have been the hottest on record.

This summer has felt like a scorcher in many parts of the world, and now scientists have the data to prove it.

This past June was the hottest June on record for the planet, reports the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The records begin in 1880.

The average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.58°F (0.88°C) above the 20th century average. It beats the previous record, set last year, by 0.22°F (0.12°C).

This year could become the hottest on record. During the first six months of 2015, average land and sea temperatures were 1.53°F (0.85°C) above the 20th century average. That beats the previous record for the same period since 1880 (2010) by 0.16°F (0.09°C).

As the graphs on this page show, the higher temperatures have not been consistent across the globe. Lower temperatures have been reported in some areas, including part of the Northeast and Midwest in the United States, which suffered under a particularly severe winter. But much more of the planet has been warmer, driving the overall trend.

California, for instance, has seen record heat, exacerbating drought.

The world’s climate system is complex and not fully understood, but a pattern of warming has been emerging in recent years. Most scientists think human activity is playing a significant role.

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