United States government scientists on Thursday confirmed that July was the hottest month on record, edging out the previous record-holder, July 2016.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that the global average temperature last month was 62.1 degrees Fahrenheit (16.7 degrees Celsius). That is 0.05 degree Fahrenheit higher than July 2016, and 1.7 degrees higher than the average for the 20th century.
The findings are in line with those of European scientists at the Copernicus Climate Change Service, who said earlier this month that July was 0.07 degree Fahrenheit higher than three years ago. Copernicus, NOAA and other agencies around the world use different sets of temperature data in their calculations. NOAA’s dates to 1880.
The record heat was felt in most parts of the globe, the agency said, including parts of North America, southern Asia, southern Africa and much of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. There were no record cold July temperatures anywhere.
Temperature records keep falling as Earth continues to warm, in large part because of human-related emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Including last month, the five hottest Julys have occurred in the last five years, and nine of the 10 hottest have occurred since 2005, NOAA said. Through July, NOAA said, this year was tied with 2017 as the second hottest ever, with 2016 still the hottest.
The warm temperatures had a large effect on sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctica, the agency said. In the Arctic, an average of 40,800 square miles of sea ice was lost each day in July. At month’s end, ice covered 726,000 square miles of ocean, an amount that represents a record low for the end of July.
But the yearly minimum is not determined until the melting season ends in September, so conditions over the next six weeks will determine whether this year’s ice extent is lower than the record year of 2012.
Antarctic sea-ice extent in July was also at a record low, slightly lower than the previous record set two years ago, NOAA said.