July is always a hot one in the northern hemisphere, but last month was especially warm, with a number of European countries seeing the mercury reach new heights.
And altogether the global temperature for July 2019 is the warmest of any month on record, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.
The previous mark for warmest month in the Copernicus dataset was July 2016 and last month eclipsed it by just a smidge, specifically .04°C. That’s also .56°C warmer than the average July from 1981 – 2010 and 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels.
For a little context, the Paris climate agreement aimed to limit the increase in average global temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. If last month is any indication, that trajectory for meeting that goal isn’t great.
What makes July’s heat wave particularly disturbing is that it is not associated with a strong El Nino event, as the previous record set in July 2016 was. El Nino tends to fuel a spike in hot temperatures, but the phenomenon was relatively weak in July 2019, meaning it can’t be blamed for this particularly sweltering summer.
In addition to setting records in Europe, Alaska also saw the first 90-degree day in Anchorage and record low sea-ice extent in the Chukchi Sea. Meanwhile, the month ended with a heat wave in Greenland leading to a major melting event of the ice sheet there alongside wildfires.
NASA, NOAA and other agencies have yet to release their own reviews of last month’s average worldwide temperature, but will likely do so in the coming weeks.