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JULY 2016
WAS HOTTEST MONTH ON RECORD
FOR THE GLOBE

July was hottest month on record for the globe. Analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirms 15 consecutive months of record-breaking heat.

What climate-related events happened around the world this month?

July 2016 was 1.57 degrees F above the 20th-century average, breaking last year’s record for the warmest July on record by 0.11 degrees F, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

This was the 15th month in a row to break a monthly heat record, surpassing July 2015 as the warmest month ever on record. Records date back 137 years to 1880.

For the year to date, the average global temperature was 1.85 degrees F above the 20th-century average. This was the highest temperature for this period, breaking the previous record set in 2015 by 0.34 degrees F.

Some more notable findings around the world include:

The globally averaged sea surface temperature was record high for July and the year to date (January–July).

The globally averaged land surface temperature tied with 1998 as record high for July and record high for the year to date.

Near-record-warm continents: Asia had its second warmest July; Oceania its fourth, North America its fifth, and Africa and Europe their seventh. The average Arctic sea ice extent for July was 16.9 percent below the 1981–2010 average. This was the third smallest July extent since records began in 1979. The average Antarctic sea ice extent for July was 0.2 percent above the 1981–2010 average, marking the smallest July Antarctic sea ice extent since 2011 and the 19th smallest on record.

Global highlights: July 2016

The July temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.57°F above the 20th century average of 60.4°F. This was the highest for July in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.11°F, the previous record holder for the warmest month on record. July 2016 marks the 40th consecutive July with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th century average. July 1976 was the last time July global land and ocean temperatures were below average. July 2016 had the lowest monthly global temperature departure from average since August 2015 and tied with August 2015 as the 15th highest monthly temperature departure among all months (1,639) on record.

The July globally averaged land surface temperature was 1.98°F above the 20th century average of 57.8°F. This value tied with 1998 as the highest July global land temperature in the 1880–2016 record. This was the 24th consecutive July with global land temperatures above the 20th century average, with July 1992 being the last time July global land temperatures were below average. This was also the lowest monthly temperature departure from average since August 2015.

The July globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.42°F above the 20th century monthly average of 61.5°F—the highest global ocean temperature for July in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.07°F. July 2016 marks the 40th consecutive July with global ocean temperatures at least nominally above the 20th century average. July 2016 tied with August 2015 as the eighth highest departure from average among all 1,639 months in the record.

The July temperature for the lower troposphere (roughly the lowest 5 miles of the atmosphere) tied with 1998 as the highest in the 1979–2016 record, at 0.79°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by the University of Alabama in Huntsville* (UAH) using UAH version 5.6. It was third highest on record, at 0.68°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by Remote Sensing Systems* (RSS).

The July temperature for the mid-troposphere (roughly 2 miles to 6 miles above the surface) tied with 2010 as the second highest for July in the 1979–2016 record, at 0.67°F above the 1981-2010 average, as analyzed by UAH. It was third highest on record, at 0.58°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by RSS. After removing the influence of temperatures above 6 miles in altitude, the University of Washington, using data analyzed by the UAH and RSS, calculated temperature departures from the 1981–2010 average to be 0.88°F and 0.77°F, respectively, second and third highest in the record, respectively. All analyses rank July 1998 as the warmest July in the satellite record.

The average Arctic sea ice extent for July was 640,000 square miles (16.9 percent) below the 1981–2010 average. This was the third smallest July extent since records began in 1979 and about 73,000 square miles larger than the record smallest July sea ice extent in 2011. According to an analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center based on data from NOAA and NASA, sea ice cover was below average in the Kara, Barents, and Beaufort Seas and near average in the Laptev and East Siberian Seas. July Arctic sea ice extent is decreasing at an average rate of 7.3 percent per decade.

The Antarctic sea ice extent for July was 30,000 square miles (0.2 percent) above the 1981–2010 average. This was the smallest July Antarctic sea ice extent since 2011 and the 19th smallest on record. July Antarctic sea ice extent is increasing at an average rate of 1.2 percent per decade.

Global highlights: Year-to-date (January–July 2016)

The year-to-date temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.85°F above the 20th century average of 56.9°F. This was the highest for January–July in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.34°F.

The year-to-date globally averaged land surface temperature was 2.99°F above the 20th century average of 46.8°F. This was the highest for January–July in the 1880–2016 record, exceeding the previous record of 2015 by 0.61°F.

The year-to-date globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.42°F above the 20th century average of 61.0°F. This was the highest for January–July in the 1880–2016 record, besting the previous record of 2015 by 0.22°F.

The January–July temperature for the lower troposphere was the highest in the 1979-2016 record, at 1.15°F above the 1981-2010 average, as analyzed by the University of Alabama in Huntsville* (UAH) using UAH version 5.6. It was also highest on record at 1.03°F above the 1981-2010 average, as analyzed by Remote Sensing Systems* (RSS).

The January–July temperature for the mid-troposphere was the second highest for January–July in the 1979-2016 record, at 0.94°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by UAH. It was also second highest on record at 0.88°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by RSS. After removing the influence of temperatures above 6 miles in altitude, the University of Washington, using data analyzed by the UAH and RSS, calculated temperature departures from the 1981–2010 average to be 1.15°F (highest on record) and 1.08°F (second highest on record behind 1998), respectively.

* Please note: the UAH and RSS datasets referenced in this report are versions that have completed a research-to-operations (R2O) transition involving scientific, technical and administrative processes designed to ensure operational reliability. Both groups have new versions of their products at some stage of the R2O process and will be incorporated in this report when the R2O process is complete.

Written by: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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