According to new data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This past May was the hottest May on record. In fact, the past five months were the warmest start to a year on record since 1880. It's a continuation of trends that made 2014 the most blistering year for the surface of the planet. The stifling start to 2015 may be just the beginning. Thirteen of the 14 hottest years are in the 21st century, and 2015 is on track to break the heat record again. It isn't even close. The National Weather Service predicts that a pattern of unusually warm waters in the Pacific Ocean, known as El Niño, has an 85 percent chance of persisting through the 2015-2016 winter. And this El Nino could be a big one. A strong El Niño doesn't guarantee record-breaking heat, but combined with the general trend of global warming, that possibility is looking increasingly likely. El Niño conditions transfer heat that's been building in the ocean into the atmosphere, affecting weather around the world. A protracted El Niño could bring relief to California's unprecedented drought in the form of heavy rains, but would likely add another year to the rising stack of broken temperature records.
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