July 2019 may have been the single hottest month in recorded history, preliminary data from the World Meteorological Organization shows.
Global average temperatures from July 1 to July 29, 2019, met and possibly even surpassed the previous record for the hottest month ever, which was set in July 2016, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said in a news conference yesterday (Aug. 1).
“This is even more significant because the previous hottest month, July 2016, occurred during one of the strongest El Niños ever,” Guterres said, referring to the semiannual climate cycle that shifts the Pacific Ocean’s warmest water toward South America, affecting weather patterns around the world. July 2019, meanwhile, did not coincide with a strong El Niño — temperatures were just really, really hot, due to climate change, he added.
The month was characterized by relentless heat waves around the world. On July 25, numerous European countries — including Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands — experienced new national heat records with temperatures in excess of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). The city of Paris also recorded its hottest day ever at 108.6 F (42.6 C), while widespread droughts in India left millions of people without water.
This summer hasn’t just felt like the hottest ever — it actually has been. July 2019 is now officially the hottest month on record, since record-keeping began 140 years ago.
The average global temperature last month was 0.95 Celsius (1.71 Fahrenheit) above the 20th-century average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Thursday. It follows the hottest June ever recorded, marking one of the hottest summers in recent history.
Previously, July 2016 held the record for the hottest month ever. As of now, 2019 is tied with 2017 as the second-warmest year on record.
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, scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information said.