July was hottest month recorded worldwide: U.S. scientists

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - July was the warmest month ever on record worldwide and 2015 has been so far the hottest year, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Thursday, just over three months to go before world leaders seek to reach a climate agreement in Paris. In its monthly global climate report released online on Thursday, NOAA said many countries and the world's oceans experienced heatwaves, with the Earth's oceans temperature also hitting record highs last month. This July was the all-time highest monthly temperature in the records that date back to 1880, at 61.86 degrees Fahrenheit (16.61 degree Celsius), according to NOAA. The first seven months of 2015 comprised the warmest such period on record globally, at 1.53 F (0.85 C) above the 20th century average, and surpassing the previous record set in 2010 by 0.16 F (0.09 C), it said. The record comes after NOAA and the U.S. space agency NASA said in January that 2014 was the Earth's hottest on record, a fact used by the White House and the United Nations to make the case for immediate action to combat climate change. One of the goals of the UN climate talks is to stop global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which scientists say is the limit beyond which the world will suffer ever worsening floods, droughts, storms and rising seas. Earlier this month, the Obama administration unveiled the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of its broader climate change strategy that aims to slash carbon emissions from the country's power plants. The U.S. agency says that the rapid rise is mainly attributable to humans burning fossil fuels. The United States wants to play a leading role to secure a global climate change deal in Paris this December. (Reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Susan Heavey; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Marguerita Choy)