The Earth saw its hottest July since records began this year, as scientists warned “this is climate change”.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a US weather agency, the planet averaged 16.73 degrees celcius last month, beating the previous record set in July 2016, which was also tied in 2019 and 2020.
The last seven Julys, from 2015 to 2021, have been the hottest seven Julys on record, said NOAA climatologist Ahira Sanchez-Lugo.
Parts of the US and Europe have been experiencing extreme heat waves since July, and NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said: “This new record adds to the disturbing and disruptive path that climate change has set for the globe."
“This is climate change," said Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann.
“It is an exclamation mark on a summer of unprecedented heat, drought, wildfires and flooding.”
Earlier this week, a prestigious United Nations science panel warned of worsening climate change caused by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas and other human activity.
Warming on land in western North America and in parts of Europe and Asia really drove the record-setting heat, Sanchez-Lugo said.
While the worldwide temperature was barely higher than the record, what shattered it was land temperature over the Northern Hemisphere, she said.
Northern Hemisphere temperatures were a third of a degree (.19 degrees Celsius) higher than the previous record set in July 2012, which for temperature records is “a wide margin,” Sanchez-Lugo said.
July is the hottest month of the year for the globe, so this is also the hottest month on record.
Even with a scorching July and a nasty June, this year so far is only the sixth warmest on record.
That's mostly because 2021 started cooler than recent years due to a La Nina cooling of the central Pacific that often reduces the global temperature average, Sanchez-Lugo said.
“One month by itself does not say much, but that this was a La Nina year and we still had the warmest temperatures on record...fits with the pattern of what we have been seeing for most of the last decade now,” said University of Illinois meteorology professor Donald Wuebbles.