August 16, 2021
Along with all the gold medals and records broken during the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, I heard the world broke another major record in July. July was the hottest month ever recorded, according to data released Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The record highlights the “unenviable distinction” that could ratchet up anxiety about climate change. While July is typically the world’s warmest month of the year, July 2021 outdid itself as the hottest July and month ever recorded. The combined land- and ocean-surface temperature around the world was 1.67F above the 20th century average of 60.4F, according to NOAA. That makes July the hottest month since record-keeping started 142 years ago.
Daniel Arkin of NBC News reported the combined temperature last month was 0.02F higher than the previous record logged in July 2016, which was then tied in 2019 and 2020, the NOAA said. In the Northern Hemisphere, the land-surface temperature was the hottest ever recorded for July at 2.77F above average, scorching 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 damaging effects of climate change, including floods, heat waves, drought, hurricanes, and wildfires. The news arrives four days after the United Nations issued an alarming report about the urgent threat of climate change. UN Secretary-General António Guterres called the findings a “code red for humanity.”
The last five Julys have been the five hottest of all time, and last month marked the 415th consecutive month with above-average global temperatures, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Alaska, Central Europe, northern and southwestern parts of Asia, and parts of Africa and Australia suffered the most intense temperatures above normal highs and experienced their hottest year to date. A deadly heat wave gripped more than half of the US in mid-July, causing at least six deaths. Europe faced life-threatening heat last month, with France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Britain all hitting record temperatures, including 109F in Paris, the hottest ever recorded. On the last day of the month, the heat wave moved from Europe to Greenland, melting its ice sheets at dramatic rates. Eleven billion tons of ice melted across the country in just one day. This is the biggest melt of the season.
Thoughts: Melissa and I were watching our Friday night comedy talk show and the UN and NOAA reports concerning the hottest month record was addressed. The point was raised that we have been getting similar reports on global warming since the 1970’s. While for some it reinforces the urgency to confront climate change (50 years later), it has made others indifferent (old news). The world’s approach is to lower greenhouse gasses by 2050. Both reports say by 2050 we will have reached the point of no return. Now is the time to act. Follow the science. Change is coming and it starts with you.