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Global average temperature anomalies during June 2018, based on NASA data. Credit: NASA GISS.

Earth had its third-warmest June on record this year, according to NASA data released Monday. The month saw numerous heat milestones set worldwide, from the U.S. to the Middle East.

Why this matters: The planet is headed for a top 5 warmest year despite the lack of an El Niño event in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which would help boost temperatures in addition to human-caused global warming.

What NASA found: According to NASA, the global average surface temperature was 0.77 degrees Celsius, or 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit, above the 1951-1980 average, tying with June 1998 as the third-warmest June in 138 years of modern record-keeping. Only June 2015 and 2016 were warmer.

  • Most areas of the globe, with the notable exception of Greenland, saw above average temperatures during June, with the most pronounced warm temperature anomalies seen in north-central Siberia, where record warm temperatures along with numerous wildfires were observed.
  • During June, severe heat waves swept across North America, including a deadly event in Quebec that featured the hottest temperature on record in Montreal on June 29.
  • Meanwhile, in Oman, a new world record for the highest minimum temperature during a 24-hour period and a calendar day was likely set in Qarayyat on June 25. The weather station there failed to register a temperature below a sizzling 42.6 degrees Celsius, or 108.7 degrees Fahrenheit, during a 24-hour period.

How NASA did it: NASA is one of the agencies responsible for keeping tabs on global temperatures, and it based its data on readings from about 6,300 weather stations, including ship and buoy instruments, located around the world.

The NASA monthly temperature anomalies superimposed on a 1980-2015 mean seasonal cycle, showing where June 2018 ranks. Credit: NASA GISS

The long-term context: The new data shows that 2018 is following the pattern of recent years, with a clear, long-term global warming trend that scientists have shown is mainly due to human activities, including emissions of greenhouse gases.

The bottom line: A 2017 U.S. government report found that the last 115 years have been: "The warmest in the history of modern civilization."

Go deeper

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth-quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.