July was hottest month on record

Published August 14, 2021
A firefighter extinguishes a forest fire near the town of Manavgat, east of the resort city of Antalya, Turkey on July 30. — Reuters/File
A firefighter extinguishes a forest fire near the town of Manavgat, east of the resort city of Antalya, Turkey on July 30. — Reuters/File

WASHINGTON: Earth sizzled last month and July became the hottest month in 142 years of recordkeeping, meteorologists said on Friday.

As extreme heat waves struck parts of the United States and Europe, the globe averaged 16.73 degrees Celsius

last month, beating out the previous record set in July 2016 and tied again in 2019 and 2020. the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the US said. The margin was just 0.01 Celsius.

The last seven Julys, from 2015 to this year, have been the hottest seven Julys on record, said NOAA climatologist Ahira Sanchez-Lugo. Last month was 0.93 degrees Celsius warmer than the 20th century average for the month.

“In this case first place is the worst place to be, NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said in a press release. “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 fifth of a degree 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.

One factor helping the world bake this summer is a natural weather cycle called the Arctic Oscillation, sort of a cousin to El Nino, which in its positive phase is associated with more warming, the NOAA climatologist said.

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2021

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