According to today’s report from the National Climate Data Center at NOAA, the month of July was the 4th hottest month on record globally and the hottest month ever for Northern Hemisphere land masses.
Combined land and ocean temperatures for the month were .62 degrees Celsius (1.12 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th century average. ENSO neutral conditions continued for the eastern Pacific as a powerful La Nina continued to fade.
With current expectations that El Nino conditions will return to the Pacific by fall, it appears that the end of 2012 and 2013 overall may challenge current global temperature records. The fact that current world temperatures are so high in an ENSO neutral state shows that both the atmosphere and the oceans are gathering heat. In past years, global temperature records were set during powerful El Ninos, so the current, comparatively high temperatures do not bode well.
That said, sea temperatures have lagged land temperatures over much of the period. The primary exception has been the Arctic region were much higher than average water and air temperatures have contributed to record sea ice melt in the region.
June 2012 was also the 4th hottest month on record globally. And coming out of the strongest La Nina in recent years, the January-July period was the 10th hottest on record.