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Global average surface temperature anomalies during July 2018, in degrees Celsius. Credit: NASA GISS.

July 2018 was the planet's third-warmest such month since reliable measurements began in 1880, with a global average surface temperature of 1.4°F warmer than the 20th century average — this means the top 3 warmest Julys have occurred in 2016, 2017, and 2018, respectively.

Why this matters: July saw a spate of extreme heat events around the world, from all-time record heat and wildfires in Scandinavia, to the warmest month in California history. The July 2018 ranking, while preliminary, is significant since unlike in 2016, there was no El Niño present to add more heat to the climate system.

The big picture: July's historic temperatures brought heat waves to a large portion of the northern hemisphere and set the stage for deadly and devastating wildfires in California and Sweden, and massive fires have been burning in Siberia as well. All-time national heat records fell in Japan, North and South Korea, Algeria and Taiwan, along with numerous all-time records for individual cities.

The unusually hot conditions in the western U.S., along with the U.K., Scandinavia, parts of Eurasia and southeast Asia are clear from NASA's July temperature anomaly map. Interestingly, much of the Arctic — which is the fastest-warming area on Earth — has been cooler than average this summer, including in July.

What we're watching: Other global temperature monitoring agencies have now weighed in with their rankings, and they differ slightly from NASA's. NOAA, for example, found that July was the fourth-warmest such month on record for the globe, and that the year-to-date is also running in the fourth-warmest spot.

NOAA's temperature report, released Monday, found that July was the hottest such month on record in Scandinavia and the surrounding Arctic Ocean, northwest Africa, parts of southern Asia and southwest United States. Europe had its second-warmest July on record, the report found. "No land or ocean areas had record cold July temperatures," the report said.

According to NOAA's Daily Weather Records Tool, as of July 31, there were 183 stations across the globe that recorded new high maximum temperatures for July, and 232 that set all-time high low temperature records.

There were 69 stations across the globe that set new all-time high maximum temperatures, as well, along with 96 stations that set new all-time high minimum temperatures.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

First look: Mayors press Biden on immigration

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A coalition of nearly 200 mayors and county executives is challenging Joe Biden and the incoming Congress to adopt a progressive immigration agenda that would give everyone a pathway to citizenship.

Why it matters: The group's goals, set out in a white paper released today, seem to fall slightly to the left of what the president-elect plans to propose on Inauguration Day — though not far — and come at a time of intense national polarization over immigration.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
3 mins ago - Health

Demand for coronavirus vaccines is outstripping supply

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Now that nearly half of the U.S. population could be eligible for coronavirus vaccines, America is facing the problem experts thought we’d have all along: demand for the vaccine is outstripping supply.

Why it matters: The Trump administration’s call for states to open up vaccine access to all Americans 65 and older and adults with pre-existing conditions may have helped massage out some bottlenecks in the distribution process, but it’s also led to a different kind of chaos.

Woman who allegedly stole laptop from Pelosi's office to sell to Russia is arrested

Photo: FBI

A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, the Department of Justice said.

Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, is charged with illegally entering the Capitol as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct. She has not been charged over the laptop allegation and the case remains under investigation, per the DOJ.