July 2019 hottest month on record for planet, US agency finds

A general view shows an iceberg stranded near the village of Innaarsuit, in the Avannaata Municipality, northwestern Greenland, 12 July 2018 (issued 13 July 2018). [EPA-EFE/MAGNUS KRISTENSEN]

July 2019 temperatures were the hottest ever recorded globally, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Thursday (15 August), confirming earlier observations by the European Union.

“Much of the planet sweltered in unprecedented heat in July, as temperatures soared to new heights in the hottest month ever recorded. The record warmth also shrank Arctic and Antarctic sea ice to historic lows,” the agency said.

According to the NOAA, the average global temperature in July was 0.95 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average of 15.8 degrees Celsius, making it the hottest July in its records, which go back to 1880.

The previous hottest month on record was July 2016.

“Nine of the 10 hottest Julys have occurred since 2005-with the last five years ranking as the five hottest,” the NOAA said.

Alaska had its hottest July since it began keeping records in 2005, several countries in Europe saw new temperature records, and it was also the hottest month ever across Africa as a whole.

Average Arctic sea ice meanwhile set a record low for July, running 19.8% below average, and surpassing the previous historic low of July 2012 according to an analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center using data from NOAA and NASA.

Average Antarctic sea ice was 4.3% below the 1981-2010 average, making it the smallest for July in the 41-year record.

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