July was a scorcher—in fact, it was the most sizzlingly hot month on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on Thursday.
The federal agency said in a report that the average temperature last month across the globe was 61.86 degrees, the hottest month since meteorologists began keeping track of the number in 1880.
July’s temperature was 1.46 degrees above the 20th century average and 0.14 degrees above the previously hottest month in 1998. Worldwide, the first seven months of the year also hit temperature highs, and it is likely that 2015 will be the hottest year on record, said NOAA.
Why the high temps? Many scientists say climate change and El Nino conditions have a lot to do with it.
Western and central Europe were particularly hard-hit, where countries like Austria recorded its hottest July since national records began in 1767. France also had its third warmest July in 116 years, while record-breaking heat took place in parts of the southern United Kingdom.
NOAA noted a high pressure dome over the Middle East contributed to what could be one of the highest heat indices ever. According to reports, the city of Bandar Mahshahr, Iran, hit a high of 115 degrees with a heat index of 165. And Africa recorded its second-hottest July on record.
The United States didn’t see as extreme temperatures as compared to the rest of the world. The report noted that the Northwest and the Southeast were warm while the central U.S. was cool. Meanwhile, record rainfall in parts of California did little to affect the long-term drought that has been wreaking havoc in parts of the state.
The latest numbers come ahead of a United Nations climate change conference in December, when leaders will gather in Paris in hopes of achieving a plan to reduce global emissions.