Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are predicting 2019 will be one of the five hottest years on record.
“We are now pulling even with 2017 as the second hottest year to date, and we’re virtually certain we will have a top five hottest year on record,” Deke Arndt, chief of the monitoring section for NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, said in a call with reporters to review the agency’s monthly climate report.
“Climate change is definitely the reason we are very near the records" and surpassing them, Arndt said, comparing the world’s trajectory to the steady climb of an escalator.
July’s unusual weather patterns were particularly impactful in coastal areas, with Washington, D.C., seeing as much rain in one hour as it normally gets all month.
Alaska's July — the state's hottest month on record — led to rapidly melting sea ice, which can no longer be found within 125 miles of the state’s coast. Alaska's salmon industry also took a major hit as fish died in the warming waters.
Overall, July was also the 12th highest month for U.S. energy usage as people cranked air conditioning systems to battle rising temperatures.
NOAA scientists expect the hot weather to continue into the fall and to dump more rain that normal on much of the Atlantic Coast.
Updated at 1:23 p.m.