By Kerry Sheridan
The world broke new heat records in July, marking the hottest month in history and the warmest first seven months of the year since modern record-keeping began in 1880, US authorities say.
The findings by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published on Thursday (local time) showed a troubling trend, as the planet continues to warm due to the burning of fossil fuels, and scientists expect the scorching temperatures to get worse.
"The world is warming. It is continuing to warm. That is being shown time and time again in our data," said Jake Crouch, physical scientist at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information.
"Now that we are fairly certain that 2015 will be the warmest year on record, it is time to start looking at what are the impacts of that? What does that mean for people on the ground?" he told reporters.
The month's average temperature across land and sea surfaces worldwide was 16.61degC, marking the hottest July ever.
The previous record for July was set in 1998.
"This was also the all-time highest monthly temperature in the 1880-2015 record," said NOAA in its monthly climate report.
"The first seven months of the year (January-July) were also all-time record warm for the globe," NOAA said.
When scientists looked at temperatures for the year-to-date, they found land and ocean surfaces were 0.85degC above the 20th century average.
"This was the highest for January-July in the 1880-2015 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2010 by 0.09degC."
Scientists also calculated the rate of temperature increase for July at an average of 0.65degC per century.
Large parts of the Earth were much warmer than average, including Africa which saw its second hottest July on record.
"Record warmth was also observed across much of northern South America, parts of southern Europe and central Asia, and the far western United States," said the NOAA report.
Parts of eastern Scandinavia and western Russia, eastern and southern Asia and scattered areas in central and northern North America were cooler than average.