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July Was The Hottest Month In Recorded Human History

Iraqis buy ice blocks at a factory in Sadr City, east of the capital, Baghdad, on July 2 amid power outages and soaring temperatures.
Iraqis buy ice blocks at a factory in Sadr City, east of the capital, Baghdad, on July 2 amid power outages and soaring temperatures.

There was nothing cool about it.

July was the hottest month ever recorded in human history, according to new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"In this case, first place is the worst place to be," NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad 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."

Spinrad said that climate change has set the world on a "disturbing and disruptive path" and that this record was the latest step in that direction. Research has shown the warming climate is making heat waves, droughts and floods more frequent and intense.

The Pacific Northwest is enduring its second heat wave of the summer, with temperatures expected to top 100 F as wildfires continue to burn in Oregon and nearby California.

According to NOAA, last month was the hottest July in 142 years of record-keeping.

The global combined land and ocean-surface temperature last month was 1.67 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the 20th-century average of 60.4 degrees, the agency said. The previous record was set in 2016, and repeated in 2019 and 2020.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the land-surface temperature for July was 2.77 degrees hotter than average.

It was Asia's hottest July on record and the second-most-sweltering July for Europe, according to NOAA. It ranked among the top 10 for warmest July for North America, South America, Africa and Oceania.

The news came days after more than 200 climate scientists released a landmark report, which found that climate change will exacerbate extreme weather in the coming years while noting that cutting greenhouse gas emissions could prevent the worst outcome.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.