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updated 8/15/2012 2:49:30 PM ET 2012-08-15T18:49:30

Last month, the planet saw the fourth warmest July since record-keeping began in 1880, according to U.S. weather records.

Most areas of the world experienced above-average monthly temperatures, including most of the United States and Canada. But there were exceptions, including Australia, northern and western Europe, eastern Russia, Alaska and southern South America, which were notably cooler than average, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) monthly reported noted.

The combined temperature over land and ocean so far this year ranked as the 10th warmest such period on record, NOAA reported.

Last month, the continental United States saw a bigger milestone. July 2012 was the warmest month on record for the lower 48 states, surpassing the previous record holder, July 1936.

While well over half of the continental United States experienced drought in July, weak monsoon rains so far this year in India leaves the country facing drought, while record rain in a 24-hour period on Japan's island of Kyushu brought fatal mudslides and flooding.

FollowWynne Parry on Twitter @Wynne_Parry  or LiveScience@livescience. We're also onFacebook &Google+.

© 2012 LiveScience.com. All rights reserved.

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