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June 2015 Hottest on Record: Super El Niño, Heatwaves, Record Precipitation and Drought

According to data released this week by the Japan Meteorological Agency,  June 2015 was the hottest June in the global record. On Wednesday NASA reported similar findings, with 2015 tied with 1998 as the warmest on record. What is considered one of the strongest El Niños in 50 years underpins the ongoing global warming trend, making expectations for 2015 to beat last year as the hottest year on record, likely by a wide margin.

Monthly Global Average Temperature for June

The strengthening El Niño has raised sea surface temperatures over a large swath of the Pacific in recent months, impacting global atmospheric patterns which many scientists say could lead to a “Super El Niño” that may persist through spring of 2016. According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, “confidence continues to grow that this El Niño will be one of the stronger El Niños over the past 50 years.” 

Sea surface temperatures rising in the Pacific could lead to a "super" El Nino

According the Japan Meteorological Agency, global average surface temperatures in June was 0.41°C (.74°F) above the 1981-2010 average or 0.76° (1.36°F) above the 20th century average and the warmest June since 1981.

It was the second hottest June on record in the United Sates, behind 1933, with an average temperature in the contiguous U.S. of 21.8°C (71.4°F), or 1.6°C (2.9°F) above the 20th century average. Five western states had record-breaking heat in June. In Alaska, temperatures have spiked for some time, with May and June each setting new record temperatures in Anchorage. It was also the warmest June on record in Barrow. The heat and record low snowfall has led to raging wildfires burning more than two million acres in Alaska. A particularly intense and early wildfire season burns across the Pacific Northwest.

Across the globe, heatwaves imperil millions in Pakistan, India and western Europe.

Temperature graphs courtesy of Japan Meteorological Agency, NOAA

Featured image credit: David Holt, courtesy flickr

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