"Last month was way, way warmer than anything we've ever seen."
Congratulations, humanity. According to a joint report from scientists at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA), July appears to have been the hottest month in recorded history.
Per the report, which was presented by researchers on Monday, July 2023 was hotter than any other July in NOAA's 174-year record by more than a third of a degree Fahrenheit. Sea surface temperatures, meanwhile, recorded a full 1.78 degrees higher than any other July, bringing the ocean to its fourth consecutive month of record-high ocean temps, and Antarctica— which is in its winter season, mind you — saw its third straight month of record-low sea ice levels.
"Last month was way, way warmer than anything we've ever seen," Sarah Kapnick, NOAA's chief scientist, said in a Monday press briefing, according to CNBC. And given July is usually Earth's most sweltering month, she added, it's "very likely that July 2023 was hotter than any month in any year since at least 1850."
(1 of 5) IT’S OFFICIAL:
Earth just had its hottest July in 174 years.
4th consecutive month of record-high global ocean surface temperature.
— NOAA (@NOAA) August 14, 2023
This new data notably comes on the heels of a similarly dire report last month declaring June 2023 to be the hottest June on record as well. UN secretary-general António Guterres also said last month that Earth had reached "global boiling"-level heat, as opposed to the increasingly-passé global warming. So, uh, not great.
And compared to past averages, the reports are that much more striking. According to NOAA, last month was the 47th consecutive July — and, as CNBC notes, the 533rd consecutive month overall — with temperatures higher than 20th-century averages. And that's without getting into the headlines about devastating climate-linked fires, the most recent in Hawaii.
"The really important thing to remember," said Kapnick, according to NCBC, "is that July 2023 is just the latest in a long run of extremely warm months and years going back several decades."
Now, it is worth noting that the ongoing El Niño weather pattern has exacerbated world temperatures. But it's one thing to intensify a problem, and a whole other thing to start it — which, of course, El Niño certainly hasn't. We have. And if this summer isn't a wake-up call for humanity? We don't know what is.
"A year like this gives us a glimpse at how rising temperatures and heavier rains can impact our society and stress critical infrastructure over the next decade," Kapnick added, per CNBC. "It's important to remember that these years will be cool by comparison by the middle of the century if we continue to warm our planet as greenhouse gas emissions continue."
More on the warming climate: The Kids Who Sued Montana over Climate Change Just Won
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