JULY was the hottest on record globally as a large El Nino event gathered strength in the Pacific, making it more likely that 2015 will exceed last year as the warmest year recorded.
Average land and sea-surface temperatures worldwide were 0.38 degrees above the 1981-2010 average, easily exceeding the previous record July anomaly of 0.30 degrees set in 1998, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
The record for July is likely to be matched by other agencies in coming days, such as the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration when they release their monthly reports.
If so, it will mean that five of the first seven months of 2015 have been the hottest for their respective months, and make it increasingly likely that this year will eclipse 2014 as the warmest in about 135 years of records.
Preliminary data from US space agency NASA supports Japan's findings that July was the hottest for that month.
For Australia, July and winter as a whole have been slightly warmer than average.
While areas in the south-east have had their coolest stint for two decades or longer, the nation's north - especially around the Kimberley region - have had exceptionally warm conditions.
Driving this year's warmth has been the brewing El Nino in the Pacific, which has added to the background warming caused by climate change, climatologists say.
During El Nino years, changing circulation patterns result in the Pacific Ocean absorbing less heat and even releasing some of its stored warmth to the atmosphere. Global temperatures typically get a 0.1-0.2 degrees boost during such events.
This year's El Nino is currently rated by Australia's Bureau of Meteorology as a "medium to strong" event and one that is continuing to strengthen. It may not peak until late this year according to model projections.
The impacts of El Ninos include shifting rainfall patterns, with western Pacific regions including eastern Australia typically having drier-than-usual conditions while nations on the eastern Pacific are hit by flooding and heavy rains.