The National Climatic Data Center has released the goods for last month, and it's the same old story—August 2012 was the fourth hottest recorded since 1880.
The average global temperature across land and oceans during August 2012 was 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F) and ranked as the fourth warmest August since records began in 1880. Monthly global temperatures anomalies have been among the five highest for their respective months for five consecutive months, since April 2012. August 2012 marks the 36th consecutive August and 330th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average August temperature was August 1976 and the last below-average temperature for any month was February 1985.It's no longer really remarkable that we're seeing records like fourth-warmest, second-warmest, and just-plain-warmest temps for month-long or seasonal periods being set on a regular basis.
But that stat that rolled out later on struck me; the one indicating that it's been over 35 years since a single August has clocked a cooler temp than the century-spanning average. And over a quarter of a century since any given month has done the same—that's remarkable.
If the world wasn't in the midst of humankind-induced global warming, you'd expect to see a mixed bag of monthly temps registering both above and below the 20th century average. But, of course, it is, and those 330 months are just some of the first small steps in the long march of global warming.