From sweltering heat waves to warnings about the apocalypse, the bad climate news just keeps on coming. Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, better known as NOAA, officially certified that July 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded, shattering previous temperature records and shrinking sea ice across the Arctic and Antarctic.
The average temperature across the globe in July was a full 1.71 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 60.4 degrees, according to a NOAA press release. That makes July the hottest month “in 140 years of record keeping,” the press release states. The previous hottest month on record was July 2016.
The new benchmark is part of a longer trend of intense warming. Nine out of the 10 hottest Julys have occurred in the 21st century, and the last five years have all contained the five hottest months on record, per NOAA. All of 2019 so far has seen above average heat, and it’s currently tied with 2017 as the second-hottest year on the record books. Of course, not every corner of the planet is affected in the same way. Some parts of Scandinavia and Russia saw cooler than average temps this year.
The polar ice caps have been especially hit hard, as a result of the rising temperatures. In the Arctic, the average sea ice cover for this year plummeted to 19.8 percent below average, which broke the previous low record set in the summer of 2012. Average sea ice coverage there fell to a 41-year low, too. That’s especially bad news, since melting polar ice contributes to rising seas and intense coastal flooding.
In other words, this might be a good time to invest in a boat.