Energy & Environment

July was Earth’s hottest month on record


July 2021 was the planet’s hottest month ever recorded, according to data released Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

NOAA’s numbers indicate the earth’s combined land and ocean-surface temperature was 1.67 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average of 60.4 degrees. The temperature was 0.02 degrees above the previous hottest month, July 2016, after 2019 and 2020 matched the 2016 record.

The Northern Hemisphere, meanwhile, saw an all-time high July land-surface-only temperature at 2.77 degrees above average. The previous record, July 2012, was 2.14 degrees above average.

Asia also saw its single hottest July on record, according to NOAA, while Europe tied its second-highest, July 2010.

Arctic sea ice coverage, meanwhile, was at its fourth-lowest level for July in the 43 years NOAA has kept records. July 2012, 2019 and 2020 were the only years Arctic sea ice was smaller. However, Antarctic sea ice saw its largest extent since 2015 and the overall eighth-highest extent on record.

“In this case, first place is the worst place to be,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said in a statement. “July is typically the world’s warmest month of the year, but July 2021 outdid itself as the hottest July and month ever recorded. This new record adds to the disturbing and disruptive path that climate change has set for the globe.”

Based on both the latest data and numbers from June, 2021 will likely end up one of the 10 warmest recorded years, according to NOAA, citing a projection from the National Centers for Environmental Information.

The data’s release comes days after a long-awaited report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which issued a dire warning on global temperatures. The report projected average global temperatures 1.5 degrees higher than the pre-industrial baseline by 2040, past the previously established point the U.N. agency said would result in major impacts on weather, biodiversity and food availability.

Tags Climate change heatwave Hottest on record NOAA summer
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