July 2021 has earned an unenviable distinction of being the planet's hottest month on record, according to data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Information Friday.
The NOAA pointed out a number of significant climate anomalies that took place in July, including:
- Hurricane Elsa was the season’s earliest fifth-named storm, which formed July 1
- Above-average temperatures in the U.S. West and northern Plains regions, including several states seeing their hottest months on record
- Asia experiencing its warmest July on record
- Arctic sea ice coverage levels at the fourth-smallest for July in the 43-year record
“In this case, first place is the worst place to be,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D, said in a statement. “July is typically the world’s warmest month of the year, but July 2021 outdid itself as the hottest July and month ever recorded. This new record adds to the disturbing and disruptive path that climate change has set for the globe.”
The news comes on the heels of a dire global warming report released by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which the U.N. called a "code red for humanity."
The report warned that Earth’s climate is getting so hot that temperatures in about a decade will probably blow past a level of warming that world leaders have sought to prevent. The IPCC report , which calls climate change clearly human-caused and “unequivocal,” makes more precise and warmer forecasts for the 21st century than it did last time it was issued in 2013.
“Scientists from across the globe delivered the most up-to-date assessment of the ways in which the climate is changing,” Spinrad added. “It is a sobering IPCC report that finds that human influence is, unequivocally, causing climate change, and it confirms the impacts are widespread and rapidly intensifying.”
According to the NCEI's Global Annual Temperature Rankings Outlook, based on July's data, it is "very likely" that 2021 will rank as one of the planet's 10 warmest years on record.