The first 6 months of 2015 have been the hottest on record
The first half of 2015 was the warmest first six months on record for the globe, according to a pair independent analyses from government scientists released Monday.
Global temperatures from January through June 2015 exceeded 2010 as the warmest first half of any year, according to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.
Record warm temperatures across a swath of the northeast, central and southwest Pacific Ocean basins, as well as parts of the western Atlantic Ocean, western Caribbean Sea, southern Mexico, northern Scandinavia, Barents Sea, northern and central Argentina contributed to the anomalous January-June 2015, according to NOAA.
This follows a record warm 2014 for the planet.
May was also a record-setting weather month:
Eastern Canada and parts of the Great Lakes and New England were the few locations much colder than average so far in 2015, according to NOAA. Parts of the north Atlantic Ocean, eastern Atlantic Ocean off west Africa, and Southern Ocean near the tip of South America were also somewhat cooler than average in the year's first six months. Interestingly, a small area of the north Atlantic Ocean southeast of southern Greenland was record cold in January-June 2015.
El Nino doesn't guarantee that happening, but it's worth pointing out the previous two record warm years in NASA's dataset prior to last year, 2010 and 2005, both featured El Ninos that ended early in the year, rather than persisting through an entire year.
January, February, March and June 2015 were each warmer than 2014. April was roughly comparable, but May was slightly cooler than May 2014, NASA's analysis found.
June 2015 eclipsed 1998 as the warmest June in the NASA GISTEMP analysis, which merges data from conventional land-based stations and reconstructed sea-surface temperature data from NOAA and dates to 1880.
NASA's analysis found the most pronounced warm anomalies in June 2015 were over the a strip from northern Russia south to the Arabian peninsula and from the Arctic Ocean north of North America southward into the northeast Pacific Ocean, the western United States and western Canada. Pockets of notable June warmth were also seen in central Africa, southwest Europe, central South America, off South America's northwest coast and northeast Australia.
The NOAA analysis found that Earth set a record warm June for the second year in a row.
Australia chalked up its fifth warmest June in 106 years, Austria tallied its tenth warmest June in 249 years of records, and Spain sweated through its sixth warmest June dating to 1961, according to NOAA.
Conversely, NOAA said a late June cold outbreak in New Zealand lead to the coldest temperatures, there, in 20 years, including a teeth-chattering June 24th low of -21 degrees Celsius (-5.8 degrees Fahrenheit) at Tara Hills.
A third, separate analysis from the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) also found June 2015 to be the globe's hottest June, topping June 2014 in records dating to 1891.
February, March, May and June have set their respective warm records so far in 2015, according to NOAA. NASA's analysis found no month in 2015, so far, has ranked lower than its third warmest respective month. Four of the first six months -- January (tie), March, May and June -- were the warmest respective month on record in the JMA analysis.
Going back to the start of 2014, NOAA found 10 of the 18 months set or tied their respective month's global warmth record, at the time.
Ultimately, the important takeaway is not whether one particular month or year is a fraction of a degree warmer or cooler than another, but the long-term trend.
Nine of the 10 warmest years in NASA's 134-year database have occurred this century, with the exception of 1998, which featured the tail end of one of the strongest El Ninos on record.
The last year in NASA's dataset globally cooler than average was 1976.
The last cooler-than-average month in NASA's dataset was September 1992, more than 22 years ago. In the 462 months from January 1977 through June 2015, only seven months have been cooler than average, according to NASA.