2015 sizzles with hottest six months on record

The first six months of 2015 were the hottest on record, according to the United Nations. From January to June there were new highs across the planet, with heatwaves in South Asia, Europe and parts of the United States.

From January to June 2015, the globally average temperature over land and ocean surfaces was the hottest for such a period on record, according to the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The average temperature was 0.85 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average of 15.5 degrees Celsius, WMO spokesperson Clare Nullis told a press briefing in Geneva.

She added that the major concern was that the ocean heat was constantly rising. Figures provided by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showed that the average global sea surface temperature of +0.65 degrees Celsius for the year to date was the highest for January to June on record, explained a press release. Records date from 1880.

There were warm weather alerts worldwide, with heatwaves in countries including Austria, Spain and Australia. The Balkans and Southern Europe remain in a heatwave, while the soaring temperatures killed hundreds of people in India and Pakistan last month, explained WMO.

The very high temperatures that characterised the previous six months as the hottest on record occurred ahead of the development of El Niño, which had an overall impact on temperatures.

WMO uses a combination of datasets to compile its annual Statement on the Global Climate. The provisional statement for 2015 will be released in November 2015. WMO recently joined with the World Health Organization to issue a new series of guidelines aimed at addressing the health risks posed by the increasing number and intensity of climate change-related heatwaves affecting the planet.

Photo credit: Olgierd Rudak/ CC BY 2.0

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