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World breaks monthly heat record 2 times in a row

WASHINGTON — The globe is on a hot streak, setting a heat record in June. That’s after the world broke a record in May.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday last month’s average global temperature was 61.2 degrees, which is 1.3 degrees higher than the 20th-century average. It beat 2010’s old record by one-twentieth of a degree.

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Although one-twentieth of a degree does not sound like much, in temperature records it is like winning a horse race by several lengths, Derek Arndt of the NOAA said.

And that is only part of it. The world’s oceans not only broke a monthly heat record at 62.7 degrees, but it was the hottest the oceans have been on record no matter the month, Arndt said. ‘‘We are living in the steroid era of the climate system,’’ Arndt said.

He said both the June and May records were driven by unusually hot oceans, especially the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Heat records in June broke on every continent but Antarctica, especially in New Zealand, northern South America, Greenland, central Africa, and southern Asia.

The United States had only its 33d hottest June.

All 12 of the world’s monthly heat records have been set after 1997, more than half in the last decade. All the global cold monthly records were set before 1917.

And with a likely El Nino this year — the warming of the tropical Pacific that influences the world’s weather and increases global temperatures — it is starting to look like another extra-warm year, University of Arizona climate scientist Jonathan Overpeck said.

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