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Earth’s Hot Streak Ebbs in September

by AFP
Spencer Platt-Getty Images North America—AFP

Spencer Platt-Getty Images North America—AFP

Last month was only the second warmest September in modern times, compared to record-breaking past 16 months.

The Earth’s longest hot streak in 137 years of record-keeping came to an end on Tuesday, with last month registering as the second warmest September in modern times, said U.S. government scientists.

However, the trend of upward temperatures remains clear, with the year so far, from January to September, still the most scorching since 1880, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in its monthly climate report. “September 2016 was the second highest for the month of September in the NOAA global temperature dataset record,” said the report. “This ends the longest streak in the 137-year record of 16 consecutive months to reach a new monthly high global temperature.”

September did not miss the record by much—it was just 0.07 Fahrenheit (0.38 Celsius) cooler than the record warmth of September 2015 when the Pacific warming trend of El Nino was strengthening. El Nino came to an end in July, and scientists expected a minor cool-down would follow.

Still, the pattern of increasing temperatures remains evident, as fossil fuel burning contributes to the rise of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. The September “temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.60 F above the 20th century average of 59 F,” said the report. “For the year to date, the average global temperature was 1.78 F above average, surpassing the heat record set in 2015 by 0.23 degrees.”

Experts say 2016 is likely to surpass 2015 as the hottest year in modern times, marking the third record-breaking year in a row for global heat.

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