June 2013 ranked in the top five hottest Junes on record

Scott Sutherland

According to reports from NASA and the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), when accounting for all temperatures recorded around the world, June 2013 ranked as at least the fifth hottest June since official temperature records began back in 1880.

The NCDC has the month ranked June 2013 as the fifth hottest June on record, tied with 2006 as having a globally-averaged temperature of 16.14°C. You might remember June 2006 as the month with the blistering heat wave that gripped all of western and central Europe.

NASA (who records temperatures slightly differently from the NCDC) actually put June 2013 as high as second hottest on their list of hottest Junes ever. The only June with a higher average global temperature was in 1998, when one of the strongest El Nino events of the past 63 years was causing major weather-pattern shifts.

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There was no major heat wave last month, though, and the El Nino/La Nina oscillation in the south Pacific Ocean is has been blissfully 'neutral' over the past year. That means that it's been a fairly 'normal' summer so far, and we still racked up a June in the top five (at least).

However, there were a couple of 'anomalies' to consider for last month. One was the unusually warm weather in northern Canada and in Alaska, that broke several long-standing temperature records. That was somewhat balanced by the unusually cold temperatures in northeastern Canada, though, and the heat in the northwest wasn't anything close to what Europe saw in 2006. Eastern Europe was warmer than usual, and there was a particular alarming hot-spot over Antarctica.

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We've heard a lot about this kind of thing lately, and it may be getting old for people, but here's some rather shocking revelations taken from the report.

According to the NCDC, the global-average temperature set over the entire 20th century is 15.5°C. That's combining land and ocean temperatures from all over the world, from all times of the year, and areas experiencing every season. So, it's not biased towards any particular season or geographic location.

Now, in order to truthfully claim that you've seen a month — any month, that is — with a globally-averaged temperature below that 15.5°C mark, you'd have to have celebrated your 28th birthday before January of this year (the last month below 15.5°C was February 1985).

If you want to truthfully claim that you've actually experienced a June with globally-averaged temperatures below that mark, you'd have to be turning at least 37 years old this month (the last June where global temperatures were below 15.5°C was in 1976). If you live in the northern hemisphere, you may not expect June to get down that cool, but it happened fairly often in the past.

The Earth is warming. Some of this warming may be natural, but science has found an unmistakable link between the warming that we're seeing and the amount of greenhouse gases we're putting into the air, and whereas the natural cycle of carbon dioxide works as a balance, we are throwing things out of balance.

Temperatures may not always be going up every month of every year at anyone's specific location (because that's not how climate change or weather work), however the trends are clear. We're not too far into the 21st century now, but we're already getting to the point where you need to be middle-aged before you can remember a June with normal temperatures across the globe. It's time to do something about greenhouse gas emissions before there's noone left who can remember.

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