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July hottest global month ever recorded

Eddie Burkhalter

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July was the hottest month since mankind began keeping records more than a century ago, according to a European Union climate program. 

Two blistering heatwaves across Western Europe in June and July accelerated the melting of  Greenland’s ice sheet, sending 197 billion tons of water into the North Atlantic in July alone, according to Ruth Mottram, a climate researcher with the Danish Meteorological Institute speaking to The Washington Post. 

One billion tons of melting ice corresponds to about 400,000 Olympic size swimming pools, according to the Danish Meteorological Institute. The July melt alone could fill 79 million pools. 

A researcher at the Danish Meteorological Institute told The Washington Post that the melt was enough to raise sea levels by 0.5 millimeters, or 0.02 inches in July alone.  

Scientists worldwide predict that we’re headed for one of the hottest years ever. Last month’s global temperature just edged out the previous record set in July 2016 by about .07 degrees, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, which used billions of measurements from ships, aircraft, satellites and weather stations around the world. 

“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. With continued greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting impact on global temperatures, records will continue to be broken in the future,” said Jean-Noël Thépaut, Head of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, in a statement on the record-breaking temperatures. 

Chandana Mitra, associate professor of geosciences at Auburn University who teaches climatology and climate change, told APR that we should expect the frequency and intensity of heatwaves to only increase, making it unbearable for some in both urban and rural areas. 

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“Scientists have been using the word ‘unprecedented’ for the past few years but gradually this is becoming the new normal,” Mitra said. Every year the heat numbers (temperature degrees) surpasses the previous year’s temperature and then we are declaring that year to be hotter than the others.” 

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A study by World Weather Attribution, a partnership of the University of Oxford, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, used climate models and observations to determine that the recent heat waves in France and the Netherlands are happening about 100 times more frequently due to human-induced climate change. 

Coupled with the record highs, overnight low temperatures have been rising even faster than daytime highs, according to a report released Tuesday by Climate Central. 

“Since 2010, there have been 34 percent more record high minimums than record high maximums (according to NOAA data compiled by meteorologist Guy Walton). And of all the summers on record, 2018 had the warmest low temperature in the contiguous U.S.,” the report notes. 

In Birmingham, the average low temperature during summer nights has increased by 4.1 percent since 1970, according to the report, which used data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

Since 1970, 93 percent of the cities analyzed saw an increase in summer night lows. Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada saw temperature increases of 16.9 degrees and 9.1 degrees respectively.  El Paso, Texas at 7.7 degrees and Salt Lake City, Utah at 6.6 degrees. Eight of the ten fastest-warming cities were west of the Mississippi. 

Researchers found that nationally, the increase was 1.8 degrees since 1895 when records began.

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