WASHINGTON (AP) - There's been no break from the globe's record heat - the first three months of 2015 have set new high temperature marks.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said last month's average temperature of 56.4 degrees (13.6 degrees Celsius) was the hottest March on record, averaging 1.5 degrees above the average for the 20th century. It broke a record set in 2010.
For the first three months of 2015, the globe was 55.6 degrees (13.1 degrees Celsius), breaking the record set in 2002.
Records go back to 1880.
NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden said 2015 probably will break 2014's hottest year mark if conditions persist. The first three months of 2015 were nearly a tenth of a degree higher than the old record and four-tenths of a degree warmer than January through March of last year, which turned out to be warmest year recorded.
Much of the most abnormal heat has been in the Pacific Ocean and places near it. Seven western U.S. states set records for their hottest first three months of the year, while New York and Vermont set records for the coldest start of a year. The northeastern United States has been one of the few colder-than-normal spots on the globe with entire continents of Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia coming in solidly warmer than normal.
California was a special hot case. Not only was the state's January through March average temperature 7.5 degrees warmer than normal, it smashed the old record, which was set just last year, by 1.8 degrees.
Blunden blames the record heat on a combination of El Nino, a blob of record hot water in the Northeast Pacific Ocean and human-caused climate change. None of them show signs of slowing down, she said.
NOAA temperature data: http://1.usa.gov/1b4Mp3Z