Much like the months that preceded it, October 2015 closed out the calendar with the dubious honor of being the hottest in recorded history. Every month this year with the exceptions of January and April have hit such a record, putting 2015 well down the path toward “hottest year in recorded history.”
New data from the Japan Meteorological agency and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) show that October 2015 temperatures were more than .30 degrees higher than those of October 2014. Moreover, the amount by which October broke the existing record was record breaking in and of itself, according to NASA. All of these unfortunate mileposts mean 2015 temperatures have a 97% chance of exceeding those of 2014, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
El Nino, which has been strengthening since the spring, certainly has played a part in causing the particularly high temperatures but such a warming is a trend that has been in action for the past several decades. As the climate continues to change communities will be susceptible to a number of health threats, including increased exposure to vector-borne and infectious diseases, worsening air quality and pollution levels, food shortages, and lack of access to safe drinking water.
Visit NACCHO’s climate change project for tools and resources to help local health departments mitigate the human health effects of climate change.