According to provisional data, July 2019 is set to be the hottest month ever recorded on Earth.
Figures from the first 29 days of July this year were fed to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) by the Copernicus Climate Change Programme, which is run by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. The figures show global temperatures last month were around 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels.
The WMO said ‘July 2019 will be on par with, and possibly marginally warmer’ than July 2016, the previous warmest month ever.
Official data for the whole month will be published on Monday, August 5, though initial predictions suggest it is highly likely July 2019 will be the hottest month ever on record.
Equalling and possibly surpassing the July 2016 record is significant, according to experts, as global temperatures in July 2016 were affected by a particularly strong El Niño phenomenon – a climate pattern which features unusual warming of waters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. It has not been very strong in 2019, meaning global temperatures have risen without much input from the El Niño phenomenon.
June 2019 also broke temperature records around the world, and was subsequently the hottest June ever recorded, as the Independent reports.
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has called the battle against climate change ‘race of our lives, and for our lives’.
We are on track for the period from 2015 to 2019 to be the five hottest years on record.
This year alone, we have seen temperature records shattered from New Delhi to Anchorage, from Paris to Santiago, from Adelaide and to the Arctic Circle.
If we do not take action on climate change now, these extreme weather events are just the tip of the iceberg.
According to WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas, the recent heatwaves have caused substantial damage to the environment around the world.
The extraordinary heat was accompanied by dramatic ice melt in Greenland, in the Arctic and on European glaciers. Unprecedented wildfires raged in the Arctic for the second consecutive month, devastating once pristine forests.
This is not science fiction. It is the reality of climate change. It is happening now and it will worsen in the future without urgent climate action.
July 2019 saw many temperature records broken, such as in France, when the mercury hit 42.6°C on July 25. While the Netherlands saw the hottest temperature for 75 years, as temperatures also rose above 40°C. The UK also set a national record, when temperatures in Cambridge hit 38.7°C.
The high temperatures also meant ice in Greenland has been melting faster than ever, while wildfires have raged across many rural and forested areas, such as Siberia and California.
Many experts believe the heatwaves are linked to human activity, more than doubling their probability in some locations.
Johannes Cullmann, Director of WMO’s Climate and Water Department, said: ‘Such intense and widespread heatwaves carry the signature of man-made climate change.’
While Professor Dann Mitchell, associate professor of Atmosphere Science at the University of Bristol, said:
The warming trend is clear and the scientific evidence robustly points to this being caused by human-induced climate change.
Without human activity having such an impact on the climate, these heatwaves would only occur every 50 to 100 years, according to a report by the World Weather Attribution. The report also suggested the recent July heatwave would have been around 3°C cooler if the climate was not changing at the pace it is.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.