July Was Earth’s Warmest Month in Records Going Back to 1880

Updated on

July was the world’s warmest month ever in records going back to 1880, the National Centers for Environmental Information said.

Combined land and sea temperatures were 1.46 degrees Fahrenheit (0.81 Celsius) above the 20th century average, according to a statement from the center in Asheville, North Carolina. The monthly average temperature broke the mark set in 1998 by 0.14 degree.

“As July is climatologically the warmest month for the year, this was also the all-time highest monthly temperature in the 1880-2015 record,” the center said.

In addition to setting a record for July, the first seven months of 2015 were the warmest ever, breaking the mark set in 2010. Last year holds the current record for hottest 12 months.

The continually rising temperatures seen since the start of the 21st century should dispel any idea that there has been a hiatus in global warming, Jessica Blunden, a climatologist at the center, said in a conference call with reporters.

“There isn’t a pause,” Blunden said. “Temperatures have been increasing. There really, truly isn’t a pause.”

There is natural variability in temperatures from year to year, but the overall trend is up, she said. Climate change skeptics have said that the climb in world temperatures leveled off since 1998.

Record Year

Blunden said she is “99 percent” sure 2015 will be the hottest year on record. The only way that won’t happen is if the oceans cool significantly, and that isn’t likely, she said.

The temperatures are sending the world a message that it’s time to start looking at how to deal with the warmer planet, said Jake Crouch, physical scientist at the center.

“It’s reaffirming what we already know: the world is warming,” Crouch said. “It’s time for us to start looking at what are the impacts of that.”

The center’s monthly analysis showed Austria had its warmest July in records going back to 1767, Crouch said. The average temperature there was 4.9 degrees higher than the mark set in 2006.

Heat waves also gripped parts of the U.K., the Netherlands, Sweden and France, which experienced its third-hottest July.

In the Arctic, sea ice for July was 350,000 square miles, or the eighth-smallest extent since records began in 1979. Conversely, in Antarctica, where it is winter, sea ice grew to its fourth-largest mass ever.

For more, read this next:

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE