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Published: Tuesday, August 20, 2019 @ 1:00 AM
— July was the hottest month ever recorded globally, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Much of the planet dealt with sweltering heat throughout the month. This record warmth also melted down and shrank Arctic and Atlantic sea ice to historic levels.
Breaking down the numbers
According to NOAA’s data, the average global temperature for July was 1.71 degrees above the 20th century average of 60.4 degrees Fahrenheit. That means it’s been the hottest July in the 140-year record. The previous hottest July was in 2016.
Another interesting fact is the number of hot July’s the planet has endured in recent years. NOAA says nine of the 10 hottest Julys have occurred since 2005, and the past 5 years have ranked as the 5 hottest.
Impacts on sea ice
Sea ice in the Arctic also set a record low for July. It was noted that the ice levels were 19.8 percent below the average for this time of year. This surpassed the previous historic low set in July 2012.
Antarctic sea ice was also recorded to be at it’s smallest for July at 4.3 percent below the 1981-2010 average. That is the lowest it’s been in the 41-year record, according to NOAA.
Sea ice is frozen seawater that floats on the ocean surface near the polar regions. It forms in both the Arctic and the Antarctic. During the winter months it expands, but then retreats during the warmer months of the year. This ice is extremely important to the polar environment, including ocean currents, weather, and regional climate. The loss of sea ice could lead to the death of wildlife and microorganisms, change in oceanic currents and perhaps alter weather patterns across the globe.
One of the biggest, highly debated topics across the world is whether or not climate change is happening.
Scientist across the globe, including NOAA and NASA, have studied and researched our climate with data dating back to 800,000 years ago. The data collects shows Earth’s temperature has fluctuated many times throughout history, ice ages and retreats, but there hasn’t been as dramatic of a rise in temperatures as we’ve seen recently- from 1950 to the present time - compared to early years.
It’s been hypothesized the expansion of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere have contributed to this excessive warming. Water vapor, nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide are what make up these greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases absorb the heat from sunlight and don’t allow it to radiate back to space. Earth needs these greenhouse gases to keep us warm, but too much of them could have a negative impact like we are seeing now.
Whether or not you believe in climate change it’s important that we take care of our planet. It’s the only one we have and it’s what we all depend on every second of every day. Do what you can to make this world a better place.