July 2015 was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth. And 2015 is on course to be the warmest year, according to data from the the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In its monthly global climate report, NOAA said many countries and the world's oceans experienced heatwaves, with the Earth's oceans temperature also hitting record highs.

The heat hit hard in much of Europe and the Middle East. It was the hottest July on record in Austria, where records go back to 1767. An Iranian city had a heat index (the "feels like" temperature) of 74C (165F).

july 2015 hottest month ever
7 July 2015: A cyclist passes a street thermometer showing a temperature of 46C in Cordoba, southern SpainJorge Guerrero/AFP
july 2015 hottest month ever
1 July 2015: A woman fans herself while waiting for a train on the London Underground. Temperatures in the capital hit 34.5C, making it the hottest day in Britain for nine yearsPaul Hackett/Reuters

This July was the all-time highest monthly temperature in the records that date back to 1880. The seven-month average temperature of 58.43F (14.7C) is 1.53 degrees warmer than the 20th-century average and a sixth of a degree warmer than the old record set in 2010. "It just reaffirms what we already know: that the Earth is warming," said NOAA climate scientist Jake Crouch. "The warming is accelerating and we're really seeing it this year."

The record comes after NOAA and Nasa announced that 2014 was the Earth's hottest on record, a fact used by the White House and the United Nations to make the case for immediate action to combat climate change. Nine of the 10 hottest months on record have happened since 2005, according to NOAA. Twenty-two of the 25 hottest months on record have occurred after the year 2000. The other three were in 1998 and 1997.

july 2015 hottest month ever
3 July 2015: People float in dinghies down the Sihl river in Zurich during an ongoing heat waveArnd Wiegmann/Reuters
july 2015 hottest month ever
4 July 2015: People sitting in beach chairs enjoy the hot sunny weather at the Baltic Sea resort of Travemuende in northern Germany as the country's weather service warned of high temperatures at 'record levels'Fabian Bimmer/Reuters
july 2015 hottest month ever
4 July 2015: A visitor swims in a public open-air swimming pool in Karlsruhe, southern Germany, as temperatures in the region reached around 37CUli Deck/AFP
july 2015 hottest month ever
6 July 2015: A woman swings her hair after dipping her head into a fountain in Budapest, Hungary, as temperatures topped 38CLaszlo Balogh/Reuters
july 2015 hottest month ever
8 July 2015: A man jumps into a pool to cool off during a heatwave in Sofia. Temperatures in Bulgaria reached 38CNikolai Doychinov/AFP
july 2015 hottest month ever
11 July 2015: Thousands of people swim at a tourist resort in Daying County, Suining, Sichuan Province in ChinaChinaFotoPress/Getty Images
july 2015 hottest month ever
17 July 2015: A firefighting helicopter drops water on a raging wildfire fanned by strong winds and high temperatures in the Kareas suburb, east of AthensAlkis Konstantinidis/Reuters
july 2015 hottest month ever
19 July 2015: A man shelters from the sun as Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic palace in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, as a heat wave coming from Africa spread across Italy with temperatures forecasted to reach 40CMax Rossi/Reuters
july 2015 hottest month ever
20 July 2015: A zookeeper feeds chilled watermelons to a hippopotamus at the zoo in Belgrade, Serbia, as temperatures hit 40CMarko Djurica/Reuters
july 2015 hottest month ever
20 July 2015: A Beluga whale sprays water at visitors to the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise aquarium in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo, as temperatures climbed over 34CToshifumi Kitamura/AFP
july 2015 hottest month ever
21 July 2015: A seal cools off at Belgrade Zoo in Serbia where temperatures soared to 39CAndrej Isakovic/AFP
july 2015 hottest month ever
22 July 2015: A visitor is silhouetted as she slides down a huge water pipe at a public swimming pool in Vienna as temperatures in Austria's capital hit 37CLeonhard Foeger/Reuters
july 2015 hottest month ever
22 July 2015: A woman and a dog cool off in the Limmat river in Zurich, SwitzerlandArnd Wiegmann/Reuters
july 2015 hottest month ever
27 July 2015: A car drives on a dirt road past trees that were scorched by a forest fire near Montserrat in Sant Salvador de Guardiola, in Catalonia, SpainGustau Nacarino/Reuters
july 2015 hottest month ever
28 July 2015: Workers install artificial turf in the garden of a home in Los Angeles. California is in its fourth year of a catastrophic droughtLucy Nicholson/Reuters
july 2015 hottest month ever
28 July 2015: The Ada bridge spans an estuary of the Sava river in Belgrade, as water levels in Serbia's rivers were reaching critically low levelsAndrej Isakovic/AFP
july 2015 hottest month ever
29 July 2015: A tree burns as wildfires blaze near the Paranoa neighbourhood in Brasilia, caused by drought, high temperatures and low humidityUeslei Marcelino/Reuters
july 2015 hottest month ever
30 July 2015: Firefighters work to dig a fire line on the Rocky Fire in Lake County, CaliforniaMax Whittaker/Reuters
july 2015 hottest month ever
30 July 2015: An Iraqi man shows off a thermometer indicating a temperature of more than 50C in BaghdadAhmad al-Rubaye/AFP

Scientists say these temperatures are caused by a combination of man-made climate change and a strong, near-record El Nino. An El Nino is a warming of the equatorial Pacific Ocean that alters weather worldwide for about a year. The oceans drove the globe to record levels. Not only were the world's oceans the warmest they have ever been in July but they were 1.35 degrees warmer than the 20th-century average.