Miami, United States: The United States just experienced the hottest December in modern times, and 2015 as a whole was the second warmest on record, US government scientists said on Thursday.
The report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is the latest to document a warming trend that many scientists expect will make 2015 the planet's most scorching year in modern times.
Global climate data for 2015 is to be released on 20 January.
For the United States alone, December 2015 was "record warm for the contiguous US, with a temperature of 38.6 Fahrenheit, six degrees above the 20th century average," NOAA said.
"This broke the previous record of 37.7 Fahrenheit set in 1939."
The average temperature for the entire year was the second warmest since record-keeping began in 1880.
"Only 2012 was warmer for the US," NOAA said in a statement.
"This is the 19th consecutive year the annual average temperature exceeded the 20th century average."