July was the Earth's hottest month on record, federal scientists announced Thursday.
The global temperature for July was 62.13 degrees Fahrenheit, which was 1.71 degrees higher than the average for the 20th century, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. It beat the previous record warm month, which was July 2016.
Records date back to 1880.
July's heat came on the heels of the hottest June on record.
“I anticipated that 2019 was going to contend for one of the warmest years on record because of climate change and a weak El Niño signal," said Marshall Shepherd, director of the atmospheric sciences program at the University of Georgia. "July affirms that this year, like many of the past two decades, is operating within a new normal climate."
For the year to date, 2019 is tied with 2017 as the second-warmest year on record. It's virtually certain 2019 will be one of the five warmest years on record, said NOAA climate scientist Deke Arndt.
Last month marked the 43rd consecutive July and the 415th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th-century average, NOAA said.
One of the most notable weather headlines around the globe in July was the record-shattering heat wave that spread across Europe late in the month, AccuWeather said. France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and the United Kingdom all set all-time high temperature records. That includes temperatures of 101.7 degrees in Cambridge, England, and 108.7 degrees in Paris.
On the other side of the Northern Hemisphere, Alaska baked under extreme heat, AccuWeather said. On July 4, Anchorage hit the 90-degree mark for the first time in the city’s history.
The heat helped fuel huge wildfires in Arctic locations such as Alaska, Siberia and Greenland.
Other climate monitoring groups, including Berkeley Earth and the Copernicus Climate Change Service, said July was the warmest month on record.
NASA joined the consensus that July 2019 was the warmest July on record, but it reported that July tied with August 2016 for the warmest month overall. NASA uses slightly different methods to analyze global surface temperatures.
Human activities, principally the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, are causing the global average temperature to increase at a dangerous rate, unprecedented in human history, according to Climate Signals.
The record temperatures have gone hand-in-hand with other climate extremes. Warming oceans have led to an early melt of sea ice in the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska, said Rick Thoman, a climate specialist at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.