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July was world’s hottest month on record, US agency says

‘New record adds to disturbing and disruptive path that climate change has set for the globe,’ top climate official says of data

A climate activist dressed up as a banker poses in front of a burning Deutsche Bank logo in front of the bank's headquarters during a demonstration on August 13, 2021 in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany. (ARMANDO BABANI / AFP)
A climate activist dressed up as a banker poses in front of a burning Deutsche Bank logo in front of the bank's headquarters during a demonstration on August 13, 2021 in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany. (ARMANDO BABANI / AFP)

WASHINGTON — July was the hottest month globally ever recorded, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Friday, in the latest data to underline the climate crisis.

“July is typically the world’s warmest month of the year, but July 2021 outdid itself as the hottest July and month ever recorded,” NOAA administrator Rick Spinrad said.

“This new record adds to the disturbing and disruptive path that climate change has set for the globe,” Spinrad said in a statement citing data from the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

The NOAA said combined land and ocean surface temperature was 1.67 degrees Fahrenheit (0.93 of a degree Centigrade) above the 20th-century average of 60.4 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the hottest July since record-keeping began 142 years ago.

The month was 0.02 of a degree Fahrenheit higher than the previous record set in July 2016, which was equaled in 2019 and 2020.

According to data released by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, last month was the third-warmest July on record globally.

A father and son cool off at a water fountain amid a heatwave in Seville on August 13, 2021 (CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP)

It is common for agencies to have small differences in data.

Last week a UN climate science report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provoked shock by saying the world is on course to reach 1.5C of warming around 2030.

“Scientists from across the globe delivered the most up-to-date assessment of the ways in which the climate is changing,” Spinrad said.

“It is a sobering IPCC report that finds that human influence is, unequivocally, causing climate change, and it confirms the impacts are widespread and rapidly intensifying.”

The United Nations called the report a “code red for humanity.”

A local resident gestures as he holds n empty water hose during an attempt to extinguish forest fires approaching the village of Pefki on Evia (Euboea) island, Greece’s second-largest island, on August 8, 2021 (ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFP)

“It’s just guaranteed that it’s going to get worse,” said report co-author Linda Mearns, a senior climate scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research. “I don’t see any area that is safe… Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.”

The 3,000-plus-page report from 234 scientists said warming is already accelerating sea-level rise, shrinking ice and worsening extremes such as heatwaves, droughts, floods and storms. Tropical cyclones are getting stronger and wetter, while Arctic sea ice is dwindling in the summer and permafrost is thawing. All of these trends will get worse, the report said.

A banner reading “Climate emergency, act now” is pictured next to the headquarters of Deutsche Bank during a demonstration on August 13, 2021 in Frankfurt, western Germany (ARMANDO BABANI / AFP)

Some harm from climate change — dwindling ice sheets, rising sea levels and changes in the oceans as they lose oxygen and become more acidic — are “irreversible for centuries to millennia,” the report said.

Nearly all of the warming that has happened on Earth can be blamed on emissions of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. At most, natural forces like the sun or simple randomness can explain one- or two-tenths of a degree of warming, the report said.

A woman cools off in the Barcaccia fountain at the Spanish Steps square in Rome on August 11, 2021 as a sharp rise in temperatures is expected in the coming days with the intensification of the African anticyclone. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

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