Arctic sea ice melted to record lows
July 2020 has tied for second-hottest July on record for the globe, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
What’s more, the Northern Hemisphere saw its hottest July ever — surpassing its previous record high set in 2019.
Here’s a closer look into NOAA’s latest monthly global climate report:
Climate by the numbers
The July 2020 global temperature was 62.06 degrees F (16.72 degrees C) — 1.66 degrees F (0.92 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average — tying with 2016 as the second-hottest July on record. Last month was only 0.02 of a degree F (0.01 of a degree C) shy of tying the record-hot July of 2019.
The combined land and ocean surface average temperature for the Northern Hemisphere, the highest ever recorded for July, was an unprecedented 2.12 degrees F (1.18 degrees C ) above average. The combined temperature surpassed July 2019 by 0.14 of a degree F (0.08 of a degree C).
Record-hot July temperatures spread across parts of southeastern Asia, northern South America, North America, as well as across the western and northern Pacific Ocean, northern Indian Ocean and parts of the Caribbean Sea.
Year to date | January through July
The year-to-date (YTD) global land and ocean surface temperature was the second highest in the 141-year record at 58.79 degrees F (14.85 degrees C), 1.89 degrees F (1.05 degrees C) above the 20th-century average. This value is only 0.07 of a degree F (0.04 of a degree C) less than the record set in 2016.
It was the hottest YTD on record across a large portion of northern Asia, parts of Europe, China, Mexico, northern South America as well as the Atlantic, northern Indian and Pacific oceans.
More notable climate events last month
Arctic sea ice shrank to record lows: The Arctic sea ice coverage (extent) for July 2020 was the smallest ever for July in the 42-year record, 23.1% below the 1981–2010 average, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Centeroffsite link. July’s Arctic sea ice extent was smaller than the previous record set in 2019 by 120,000 square miles, roughly equivalent to the size of Vietnam.
A few places beat the heat: Cooler-than-average July temperatures were limited to small portions of northern North America, Scandinavia, eastern China, southern South America, as well as the northern Atlantic Ocean and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. No land or ocean area had a record-cold July temperature.