After last month being confirmed as the hottest June ever, the record temperatures seen in many parts of the world over the past two weeks could make July the hottest month ever measured on Earth.
Data released by NASA and Europe’s Copernicus satellite monitoring system (C3S) showed that the global average temperature was 0.93ºC above the June norm (based on a 1951-to-1980 baseline), easily breaking the previous June record of 0.82C above the average, which was set in 2016.
The month was punctuated by a severe heatwave that struck Western Europe in particular during the last week, with numerous all-time-hottest-temperature records falling in countries with centuries-old data sets. Notably, 13 locations in France surpassed their highest temperature ever recorded.
“Although local temperatures may have been lower or higher than those forecast, our data shows that the temperatures over the southwestern region of Europe during the last week of June were unusually high,” Jean-Noel Thepaut, head of C3S, said. “Although this was exceptional, we are likely to see more of these events in the future due to climate change.’
July could now be picking up right where June left off, according to initial estimations but a set of scientists. If the trends of the first half of this month continue, it would beat the previous record from July 2017 by about 0.025ºC.
July has seen many temperature anomalies so far, but the most remarkable was in the Canadian Arctic community of Alert, Nunavut, which hit a record 21ºC on July 14th, although temperatures at this time of year are usually just a few degrees above freezing.
Michael Mann, the director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, tweeted: “Stay tuned for July numbers. July is the warmest month of the year globally. If this July turns out to be the warmest July (it has a good shot at it), it will be the warmest month we have measured on Earth.”
Mann estimated the chance of a new record this month at about 50% as conditions could change in the second half of the month. Nevertheless, in the longer term, he said, records would be continuously broken due to a broader pattern of steadily rising temperatures caused by increasing emissions of carbon dioxide.
Meanwhile, Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist based in Berkeley, California, tweeted that this month so far ranks as the hottest on record narrowly ahead of 2017, the previous record holder.
Nine of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Data from the first six months of this year indicates this year has a 99.9% chance of entering the top five.