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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019
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This July was the hottest month ever recorded and 2019 is set to be among warmest years

Searing heatwaves saw records tumble across Europe last month.

Image: PA Wire/PA Images

JULY WAS THE hottest month across the globe ever measured, and 2019 is on track to be one of the warmest years, according to data released today by the European Union’s Earth observation network. 

Searing heatwaves saw records tumble across Europe last month, with unusually high temperatures around the Arctic Circle as well.   

Wildfires unprecedented in scope and intensity burned in Siberia and Alaska, releasing more than 100 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere across June and July. 

At the same time, Greenland’s ice sheet shed massive amounts of melted ice daily, totalling nearly 200 billion tonnes in July alone, according to the Danish Meteorological Institute. 

“While July is usually the warmest month of the year for the globe, according to our data it also was the warmest month recorded globally, by a very small margin,” Jean-Noel Thepaut, head of the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, said in a statement.

“With continued greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting impact on global temperatures, records will continue to be broken in the future.”

Compared with the 1981-2010 period, average July temperatures this year rose highest in Alaska, Greenland, Siberia, central Asia, Iran and large swathes of Antarctica. Africa and Australia were also well above average.

Globally, July 2019 was marginally warmer — by 0.04 degrees Celsius (0.072 Fahrenheit) — than the previous record-hot month, July 2016.

‘Not science fiction’

 The new record is all the more notable because the 2016 record followed a strong El Nino, which boosts average global temperatures beyond the impact of global warming alone.

El Ninos are naturally occurring weather events triggered by periodic warming — every three to seven years — in the eastern Pacific Ocean. 

“July has rewritten climate history, with dozens of new temperature records at local, national and global levels,” World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement a few days ago.

Global warming, he added, was clearly to blame. 

“This is not science fiction,” he said. “It is the reality of climate change.”

Every month so far in 2019 ranks among the four warmest on record for the month in question, with June being the hottest June measured, the Copernicus team said in a press release.

Accurate temperature records extend into the 19th century, starting around 1880.

The Copernicus service is the first of the world’s major satellite-based climate monitoring networks to report average July temperatures.

With reporting by - © AFP 2019

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