Children cool off at a water park in Alhambra, California on July 27, 2019 Photo: AFP/File
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July 2019 hottest month on record for planet: U.S. agency

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By Frederic J BROWN

July 2019 temperatures were the hottest ever recorded globally, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Thursday, while satellite data showed polar ice shrank to its lowest levels.

According to the NOAA, the average global temperature for the month was 0.95 degrees Celsius (1.71 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th century average of 15.8 degrees Celsius (60.4 Fahrenheit), making it the hottest July in its records, which go back to 1880.

"Much of the planet sweltered in unprecedented heat in July, as temperatures soared to new heights in the hottest month ever recorded. The record warmth also shrank Arctic and Antarctic sea ice to historic lows," the agency said.

The findings confirmed data released by the EU's Copernicus Climate Change Service on Aug 5, though the margin of the new record compared to the last, in July 2016, was greater according to the U.S. data.

Searing heat waves saw records tumble across Europe last month, while in the US, nearly 150 million people struggled to stay cool from the Midwestern plains to the Atlantic coast and local media reported at least six deaths.

The new high is all the more notable because the previous followed a strong El Nino, which boosts average global temperates 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.

"Nine of the 10 hottest Julys have occurred since 2005—with the last five years ranking as the five hottest," the NOAA said, based on its data from weather stations, ship reports, and buoys.

Alaska had its hottest July since it began keeping records in 2005, several countries in Europe saw their heat records smashed, and it was also the hottest month ever across Africa as a whole.

There were some regions with cooler than average temperatures including parts of Scandinavia and western and eastern Russia, where temperatures were at least 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) below average or cooler.

Average Arctic sea ice meanwhile set a record low for July, at 1.9 million square kilometers (726,000 square miles), 19.8 percent below average, and surpassing the previous historic low of July 2012.

Average Antarctic sea ice was 675,000 square kilometers (260,000 square miles), 4.3 percent below the 1981-2010 average, making it the smallest for July in the 41-year record.

US President Donald Trump in withdrew in 2017 from the Paris Climate Agreement, which seeks to cap global warming at below 2 C above pre-industrial levels.

But a federal climate assessment released by the NOAA in November found that climate change "is affecting the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, and human health and welfare across the U.S. and its territories."

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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climate change "is affecting the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, and human health and welfare across the U.S. and its territories."

Those who've gained most and continue to gain from the fossil fuel economy have the most power. Trump's US, Putin's Russia, with support from the oil king/sheikhdoms and global financiers, have militaries they continue to use to ensure they maintain control.

China is probably ahead in terms of developing alternatives to burning more oil, gas and coal, but to keep pace with the US and Russia will continue to rely on burning fossil fuels.

As long as baby-boom aged leaders like Trump, Putin and Xi run their empires on oil and get richer and more powerful for doing so, expect things to get even worse. Gens X, Y and Z: it's up to you.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

NOAA may have spoken to soon about temperatures. People are dying in August from the high temperatures. Here in Jacksonville FL we have had 110F. to 115F. this is serious.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As long as baby-boom aged leaders like Trump, Putin and Xi run their empires on oil and get richer and more powerful for doing so, expect things to get even worse. Gens X, Y and Z: it's up to you.

Their age has nothing to do with it. Their lives of privilege, capitalist or communist or apparatchik, do. Plenty of opposition to the likes of those guys from their own contemporaries, at least where opposition is allowed to be expressed. I don't share your faith in younger-age leaders or their capacity to challenge either the pattern set by their predecessors, especially in the cases of China or Russia. And in the West, too many people from their teens to their 90s are too addicted to the benefits of their capitalist lifestyles - or in the case of China and Russia, their aspirations towards whatever they imagine a capitalist lifestyle to be.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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