SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer
The earth sizzled in July, becoming the hottest month in 142 years of records, US weather officials said.
When extreme heat waves hit parts of the United States and Europe, the globe averaged 62.07 degrees last month, beating the previous record set in July 2016 and matching again in 2019 and 2020. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on Friday. The margin was only 0.02 degrees,
The last seven July, from 2015 to 2021, was the hottest seven July on record, said NOAA climatologist Ahira Sanchez-Lugo. The last month was 1.67 degrees warmer than the 20th century average.
“In this case, first place is the worst place,” said NOAA administrator Rick Spinrad in a press release. “This new record adds to the worrying and disruptive path that climate change has set for the world.”
“That’s climate change,” says Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann. “It’s an exclamation point for a summer of unprecedented heat, drought, forest fires and floods.”
Earlier this week, a prestigious United Nations scientific body warned of worsening climate change caused by burning coal, oil and natural gas and other human activities.
Warming on land in western North America and parts of Europe and Asia really drove record heats, Sanchez-Lugo said. While the global temperature was barely higher than the record, it was land temperature over the northern hemisphere that rocked her, she said.
Temperatures in the northern hemisphere were a third higher than the previous record set in July 2012, which is “a wide range” for temperature records, said Sanchez-Lugo.
July is the hottest month of the year for the world, so this is also the hottest month on record.
One factor helping the world bake this summer is a natural weather cycle called the Arctic Oscillation, a kind of cousin of El Nino that is associated with increased warming in its positive phase, the NOAA climatologist said.
Even with a scorching July and an uncomfortable June, this year is only the sixth warmest on record. That’s mainly because 2021 started out cooler than previous years due to a La Nina cooling of the central Pacific, which often lowers the global temperature average, Sanchez-Lugo said.
“One month alone doesn’t say much, but that this was a La Nina year and we still had the warmest temperatures on record … Meteorology professor Donald Wuebbles from Illinois.
While the world set a record in July, the United States only hit the 13th hottest July on record. Though California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington had their hottest July, the slightly cooler months in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire kept the nation from near record heat.
The last time the globe was cooler than the 20th century average in July was in 1976, which was also the last year the globe was cooler than normal.
“So if you’re under 45, you haven’t seen a year (or July) when the average temperature of the planet was cooler than the 20th century average,” said Princeton University climate scientist Gabriel Vecchi.