July 2019 was the hottest month on record, says new report
July 2019 has been found to be the hottest month ever recorded, which is news that won't surprise anybody who sweated through the heat wave that gripped Europe, North America and indeed much of the Northern Hemisphere this summer. This continues a long-running upwards trend, with the first six months of the year tied for second hottest and sea ice at an all-time low at both poles.
The latest monthly report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) paints a pretty grim – but not unexpected – picture of the state of the planet. This July, the average temperature across global land and sea surfaces was 1.71° F (0.95° C) warmer than the 20th century average of 60.4° F (15.8° C).
This new record edges out the previous record-holder of July 2016, which occurred at the height of a 16-month hot streak where every consecutive month was the warmest of that particular month on record.
And because July is usually the hottest month of any given year, that makes July 2019 the hottest month on record, period. That's quite a feat, given the data set NOAA uses stretches all the way back to 1880.
This isn't a one-off fluke, either. According to the data, the five hottest Julys occurred in the last five years, and the top 10 have all occurred since 1998. Longer term, this July also marked the 43rd year in a row where July had global temperatures above the 20th century average. In fact, there hasn't been a month with global temperatures below average since January 1985.
With half of 2019 now gone, NOAA also looked at how the first six months of the year were tracking. Between January and July, the global average temperature was 1.71° F (0.95° C) warmer than the 20th century average, which means it was the second-warmest first half of a year on record. It shares that honor with 2017, while 2016 still holds the crown for that particular title.
On a more local scale, this period was the hottest on record for parts of North and South America, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as areas of the Atlantic, western Pacific, and western Indian Oceans.
These record highs were accompanied by record lows in terms of sea ice extent. The average Arctic sea ice hit a new historic low, coming in almost 20 percent below average for July. At the other end of the world, the Antarctic had its own record smallest sea ice coverage, at 4.3 percent below the average taken between 1981 and 2010.
Unfortunately, these findings are far from unique. These kinds of reports are pouring out from various institutions, including the United Nations, NASA, NOAA, the World Meteorological Organization and even the White House, consistently paint a worrying bigger picture about the future of our planet. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that unprecedented changes to all aspects of human society are needed to head off the worst outcomes, and some reports say we're already approaching the point of no return.
The full report on July 2019 was published on NOAA's website.