July was the hottest month in recorded human history, report says

The report's authors say the new data makes it more likely that 2021 will end up one of the top-10 hottest years on record.

Last month was not only the hottest July on record, it was also the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, according to a new report by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The data, released Friday by the U.S. agency's National Centers for Environmental Information, show the combined land and ocean-surface temperature in July was 0.93°C above the 20th-Century average – one one-hundredth of a degree hotter than the last hottest July, set 2016 and then tied in 2019 and 2020.

“This new record adds to the disturbing and disruptive path that climate change has set for the globe," NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said in a release from the agency.

The Northern Hemisphere's land-only surface temperature was 1.54°C above average in July, also the hottest ever recorded and toppling the last record, set in 2012.

Regionally, Asia also marked its hottest-ever July, besting the last record set in 2010. Europe marked its second-hottest July, and in North America, South America, Africa and Oceania, the month was one of those regions' top-10.

With this July data in hand, NOAA says it's "very likely" that 2021 will be one of the top-10 hottest years since records began 142 years ago.

Content continues below


In terms of global temperature and climate, it seems the hits just keep on coming in 2021.

Earlier this week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a new report revealing Earth has warmed by 1.1°C since the Industrial Revolution, and that we are now more likely to overshoot the mitigation goal of 1.5°C by mid-century. What that will mean in practice is that the coming decades will feature more, and more intense, extreme heat events as a result of human-induced climate change.

Earlier this week, a weather station in Sicily notched Europe's hottest-record temperature, 48.8°C, though it has yet to be verified by the World Meteorological Organization.

And closer to home, the Interior B.C. village of Lytton shattered the record for Canada's hottest-ever recorded temperature three days in a row, peaking at 49.6°C.