Last month was planet Earth's hottest August for at least 135 years, according to US scientists

There are also signs that the warmer temperatures are starting to impact Antarctica

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The Independent Online

Last month was the hottest August ever recorded on Earth, according to US scientists.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the month was 0.88 degrees Celsius warmer than the average temperature for the month during the 20 century. That figure was 0.09C higher than the previous record hottest August, which was last year. The records date back to 1880.

Last month Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, told The Independent that this year was on course to be the hottest year on record “by a mile”.

In a statement on Thursday, NOAA said: “The August average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.58F (0.88C) above the 20th century average - the warmest August on record, surpassing the previous record by +0.16F (+0.09C).

“This was the sixth month in 2015 that has broken its monthly temperature record (February, March, May, June, July, and August).”

There are also signs that the warmer temperatures are starting to impact Antarctica.

“Antarctic sea ice extent during August 2015 was 30,000 square miles (0.5 percent) below the 1981–2010 average,” NOAA said.

“This marks a shift from recent years when Antarctic sea ice extent was record and near-record large.

“This is the first month since November 2011 that the Antarctic sea ice extent was below average.”

NOAA said the area of Arctic sea ice in August was 620,000 square miles - 22.3 percent - less than the average for 1981 to 2010.

“This was the fourth smallest August extent since records began in 1979,” it said.

The UK was cooler than average during August with a national mean temperature of 14.7C.