Global heating continues to take its toll, and the planet is feeling the effects.
Record temperatures were recorded across the globe as heatwaves ravaged Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa. Mankind is sweltering in unprecedented heat and the record heat reduced Arctic and Antarctic sea ice to historic lows.
According to NOAA, the temperatures of July 2019 were 1.71 degrees F (1 degree Celsius) above the 20th-century average of 60.4 degrees F (15.8 C), making the past month the hottest recorded in 150 years (since records begin), and almost certainly, the hottest month in the history of human civilization.
“The July temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.71°F above the 20th century average of 60.4°F and was the highest for July in the 1880–2019 record. July 2019 bested the previous record—set in 2016—by 0.05°F,” the NOAA report writes.
This isn’t a freak occurrence, either. The previous hottest month on record was July 2016, and 9 out of the 10 hottest Julys have occurred since 2005. Furthermore, the last five years rank as the five hottest. July 2019 also marked the 415th consecutive month with higher-than-average global temperatures. Record-high temperatures were experienced in many parts of the world, both on land and in the water.
Ice cover also experienced record lows. Average Arctic sea ice set a record low for July, running 19.8% below average and surpassing the historic low of 2012. Average Antarctic sea-ice coverage was also 4.3% below the 1981-2010 average, making it the smallest July ice cover over the 41-year record.
Despite a few cooler-than-usual spots (parts of Scandinavia and eastern Russia), the global data paints a compelling picture: the planet is facing unprecedented heating, at least in the current era. This heating is a direct result of mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide. These greenhouse gases trap heat, producing the increased temperatures we are observing across the globe.
The impacts of this climate heating extend well beyond an increase in temperature, affecting ecosystems and communities all around the world. Things that we depend upon and value — water, energy, transportation, wildlife, agriculture, ecosystems, and human health — are experiencing the effects of a changing climate and the effects are devastating. If we want to tackle these effects, reducing our emissions is vital.