The world broke a major record last month — although it has little reason to brag about the milestone.
July was the hottest month ever recorded, according to data released Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — an “unenviable distinction” that could ratchet up anxiety about climate change.
“In this case, first place is the worst place to be,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said in a statement. “July is typically the world’s warmest month of the year, but July 2021 outdid itself as the hottest July and month ever recorded.”
He said the record “adds to the disturbing and disruptive path that climate change has set for the globe.”
The combined land- and ocean-surface temperature around the world was 1.67 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average of 60.4 degrees, according to NOAA — making July the hottest month since record-keeping started 142 years ago.
The combined temperature last month was 0.02 of a degree Fahrenheit higher than the previous record logged in July 2016, which was then tied in 2019 and 2020, NOAA said.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the land-surface temperature was the highest ever recorded for July — 2.77 degrees Fahrenheit above average, blasting past the previous record set in 2012.
Asia saw its hottest July on record and Europe recorded its second hottest, NOAA added.
NOAA’s news release featured a collage of photos illustrating the dire effects of climate change, including floods, heat waves, drought, hurricanes and wildfires. The announcement comes as California faces off against the Dixie Fire — the second-largest blaze in the state’s history.
The news also arrives four days after the United Nations issued an alarming report about the urgent threat of climate change.
The effects of climate change are changing the planet in ways that are “unprecedented” in thousands of years — in some cases, hundreds of thousands of years — according to the report.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called the findings a "code red for humanity," saying that the "alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable."