July was hottest month on record for the globe

Analysis confirms 15 consecutive months of record-breaking heat
August 17, 2016

July is typically the hottest month for the globe, and last month didn’t disappoint.

A collage of typical climate and weather-related events: heatwaves, drought, hurricanes, wildfires and changes in sea ice coverage.

July 2016 was 1.57 degrees F above the 20th-century average, breaking last year’s record for the warmest July on record by 0.11 degrees F, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

This was the 15th month in a row to break a monthly heat record, surpassing July 2015 as the warmest month ever on record. Records date back 137 years to 1880.  

For the year to date, the average global temperature was 1.85 degrees F above the 20th-century average. This was the highest temperature for this period, breaking the previous record set in 2015 by 0.34 degrees F.  

Map: Some notable climate events around the world in July 2016
Map: Some notable climate events around the world in July 2016

Some more notable findings around the world include:

  • The globally averaged sea surface temperature was record high for July and the year to date (January–July).
  • The globally averaged land surface temperature tied with 1998 as record high for July and record high for the year to date. 
  • Near-record-warm continents: Asia had its second warmest July; Oceania its fourth, North America its fifth, and Africa and Europe their seventh. 
  • The average Arctic sea ice extent for July was 16.9 percent below the 1981–2010 average. This was the third smallest July extent since records began in 1979. 
  • The average Antarctic sea ice extent for July was 0.2 percent above the 1981–2010 average, marking the smallest July Antarctic sea ice extent since 2011 and the 19th smallest on record. 

More: Access NOAA’s report and download images by visiting the NCEI website.

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