(ABC News) — This past September was the hottest September ever recorded since modern record-keeping began, according to researchers at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).
In addition, September’s sweltering heat also marks the eleventh consecutive month of record-high monthly temperatures, according to GISS, which began collecting data in 1880.
Every month since October of 2015, with the exception of June 2016, has set a new temperature record.
July and August of this year were the hottest months ever recorded. June 2016 was previously reported to have been the warmest June on record, but a GISS updated analysis clarified that it was actually the third warmest June on record.
GISS director Gavin Schmidt stressed in a statement that “while monthly rankings are newsworthy, they are not nearly as important as long-term trends.”
GISS analyzes data from 6,300 meteorological stations around the world, including ship and buoy-based instruments that measure sea surface temperatures and Antarctic research stations in order to record the Earth’s monthly temperatures.
Dr. Eberhard Faust, the head of Climate Risks Research for Munich Re, an reinsurance company that tracks natural disasters, told ABC News today that there are several factors that may have influenced the past months of back-to-back record-breaking temperatures.
One factor is the “global, long-term warming trend which is driven by human-made climate change, which might be overlaid by annual fluctuations from year to year, driven by natural climate variability on various time scales,” according to Faust.
Faust added, however, that this trend “can only be seen in the long run.”
A second factor may have been a strong El Niño, such as the one Earth experienced this past year.
“Global mean temperatures are always pushed up by the warm ocean surfaces in the Pacific area,” Faust said.
Some parts of the world this year also experienced some devastating extreme weather events, most recently being Hurricane Mathew, which killed dozens in the U.S. and hundreds in Haiti. Many, including Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, linked Hurricane Matthew’s devastation to climate change.
Faust told ABC News that “there is no conclusive scientific evidence as to the influence that climate change may have had on Hurricane Matthew. But definitely climate change can exacerbate extreme weather events.”