If you thought it was hot last month, you weren’t imagining things. The earth just experienced its hottest July ever on record, according to new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA.
The global surface temperature for the month was 2 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average. It was the warmest July recorded in NOAA’s 174-year history of keeping records. And it was .36 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the previous July record set in 2021.
Human drive climate change is contributing to extreme weather records, and July was a month for extremes. Across the globe, nations experienced hotter-than-average weather. Some of the records broken include:
- Asia, Africa, and South America each had their warmest July.
- North America had its second-warmest July.
- Europe had its eighth warmest July.
The Oceans Are Heating Up
The oceans had a warm July as well. The global ocean surface temperature hit a record high for the fourth month in a row. Off the coast of Florida and the Bahamas, sea surface temperatures were recorded above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists scrambled to save the coral reefs because hot temperatures over extended periods can bleach coral reefs, causing them to die off.
Sea ice extent was at its lowest level for July on record, and Antarctica has now had three months in a row with consecutively lower sea ice records. (Sea ice extent is the area of ocean that is covered by at least 15% of ice.)
How Did the Heat Affect the U.S.?
Much of the United States was under a heatwave this past July. Arizona, New Mexico, Maine, and Florida had their warmest July on record since NOAA started keeping records in 1880. Alaska had its fifth warmest, Louisiana had its second warmest record, and 13 additional states had their top ten warmest July on record.
What other records were set?
As heat gripped the nation, many records were broken.
- Death Valley had a record daily high temperature of 128 degrees Fahrenheit on July 16th. It didn’t cool down at night either. Instead, on July 17th, Death Valley recorded its hottest midnight temperature on record at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In Phoenix, AZ, the month of July was the hottest on record for any U.S. city. The average temperature was 102.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Phoenix also had 31 consecutive days of temperatures above 110 degrees Fahrenheit. (The previous record was 18 days in 1974.)
- New England had its hottest overnight temperatures on record.
All of this heat affected energy use. According to NOAA, energy demand for the country this July was 208% of average. It was the sixth-highest value since NOAA began keeping records 129 years ago.
What Comes Next?
Unfortunately, it’s likely to be a warm fall due to the effects of an El Nino season. It’s the first strong El Nino in seven years, and a combination of El Nino with human drive climate change could lead to even more new records and extreme weather events.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/DGHayes
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.