July 2021 was the hottest-ever month on record


FILE – In this Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020 file photo, the sun rises amid smog during the dry season in Mexico City. Five years after a historic climate deal in Paris, world leaders are again meeting to increase their efforts to fight global warming. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Based on data released by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), the global temperature for July 2021 was the highest in the 142 year NOAA record. As of now, the year-to-date (January-July) global surface temperature is tied as the sixth highest ever recorded. If trends continue, it will not be surprising if the year 2021 ranks among the 10 warmest years on record.  

The average global surface temperature for the 20th century is 60.4 degrees Fahrenheit (15.8 degrees Celsius). In July of 2021, the combined land and ocean surface temperature was 1.67 degrees Fahrenheit  (0.93 degrees Celsius) above that average. This new record was only 0.02 degrees Fahrenheit (0.01 degrees Celsius) warmer than the last record-breaking July, which was set in 2016 and then tied in 2019 and 2020. This July marks the 439th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average.  

Focusing on the Northern Hemisphere, the land-surface-only-temperature was also the highest ever recorded for July. It was 2.77 degrees Fahrenheit above average, surpassing the last record set back in 2012. Regionally, Asia also saw its warmest July on record, while Europe had its second-warmest July, tying with 2010. North America, South America, Africa, and Oceania all saw a July landing in their top 10 warmest recorded.

This outlook also touched on sea ice coverage based on hemisphere. The Arctic sea ice coverage was 687,000 square miles below the average for 1981-2010. Based on analysis of data from both NOAA and NASA by the National Snow and Ice Data Center, this was the fourth smallest sea ice extent seen in July in the 43-year record. While the Antarctic saw the opposite, with the sea ice extent of 6.32 million square miles – the largest July sea ice coverage since 2015. This was also the eighth highest in the 43 year record time.

The extreme heat detailed in NOAA’s monthly NCEI reports can also be considered a reflection of the more long-term changes that were outlined in the latest major report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  

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