By Jai-Leen James, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – For those unconvinced that climate change is real have some head-scratching to do. This past July was the hottest month ever documented since records began in 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), breaking July 2016’s record by .05 degrees.
NOAA announced Thursday, August 15th that the average global temperature last month was 62.13 degrees Fahrenheit, 1.71 degrees above the 20th-century average. Currently, 2019 is tied with 2017 as the warmest year documented. The hottest year to date was 2016.
“Nine of the ten hottest Julys have occurred since 2005 – with the last five years ranking as the five hottest,” the NOAA reported.
Temperatures ranged from the mid 90’s well into triple digits in the Midwest and much of the East Coast. One person died in Arizona, another in Arkansas and four in Maryland due to the excessive, deadly heat.
A sizzling heat wave affected not only the United States but several European countries as well. Britain, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands all reached record temperatures. London and Paris reached record highs at 100 degrees and 109 degrees, respectively.
“It was the hottest year to date for parts of North and South America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the southern half of Africa, portions of the western Pacific Ocean, western Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean,” said the NOAA.
The rising temperatures are consistent with climate change. NOAA scientists have warned rising greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere impacts the climate. An estimated 197 billion tons of ice from Greenland melted into the Atlantic Ocean in July, according to Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute.
“Greenhouse gas pollution traps heat in the atmosphere, which has consequences,” said James Butler, director of NOAA’s Global Monitoring Division. “There’s no getting around it — burning fossil fuels is changing the course of our planet’s future. How society deals with that will be a major challenge in coming decades.”
Also there was record-low sea ice: Average Arctic sea ice set a record low for July, running 19.8 percent below average – surpassing the previous historic low of July 2012. Average Antarctic sea-ice coverage was 4.3 percent below the 1981-2010 average, making it the smallest for July in the 41-year record.