Photo: Elaine Thompson / AP

The first nine months of 2017 are the second-warmest in records that date back to the late 1800s, according to the latest monthly National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report Wednesday.

Why it matters: The data underscore how this year is part of a long-term warming trend that scientists say is largely due to human influences.

The gritty details: The January-September period was 0.87°C (1.57°F) above the 20th-century average.

  • "Nine of the 10 warmest January-September global land and ocean temperatures occurred during the 21st century (since 2005), with only one year from the 20th century (1998) among the top 10. Based on three simple scenarios, 2017 will likely end up among the top three warmest years on record," NOAA said.

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24 mins ago - Health

Trump administration buys 100 million doses of Moderna's vaccine

A volunteer in Moderna's vaccine clinical trial receives a shot. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.S. government has agreed to buy 100 million doses of Moderna's experimental coronavirus vaccine for $1.5 billion, or $15 per dose.

Why it matters: The Trump administration, through Operation Warp Speed, has now bought initial batches of vaccines from Moderna, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, Pfizer, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca before knowing whether they are safe and effective. The federal government also appears to own some of the patent rights associated with Moderna's vaccine.

Updated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Political world reacts to Biden tapping Kamala Harris as running mate

Sen. Kamala Harris and Joe Biden at a campaign event in March. Photo: JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

Democrats from across the party — including some of the women on Joe Biden's vice-presidential shortlist — are championing his historic appointment of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate.

What they're saying: "Joe Biden nailed this decision," former President Barack Obama wrote in a lengthy statement. "By choosing Senator Kamala Harris as America’s next vice president, he’s underscored his own judgment and character. Reality shows us that these attributes are not optional in a president."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 20,166,415 — Total deaths: 738,266 — Total recoveries: 12,388,925Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 5,124,050 — Total deaths: 164,329 — Total recoveries: 1,670,755 — Total tests: 62,513,174Map.
  3. States: Florida reports another daily record for deaths State testing plans fall short of demand.
  4. Axios-Ipsos poll: 1 in 2 has a personal connection to COVID-19.
  5. Business: Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights for vaccine.
  6. 🏈 Sports: Big Ten scraps fall football season.