Aug 15, 2019

July was Earth's hottest recorded month

River Loire at Montjean-sur-Loire, western France on July 24, 2019. Photo: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

This July surpassed August 2016 as the hottest-ever month on record by 0.14 degrees Fahrenheit, the Washington Post's Andrew Freedman reports.

The big picture: Deke Arndt, head of climate monitoring for NOAA, tells the Post that "July 2019 marked the 415th straight month that was warmer than the 20th century average." 9 of the 10 warmest Julys on record have taken place since 2005, and Arctic and Antarctic sea ice fell to their lowest-recorded levels this July, according to NOAA.

Why it matters, per the Post: Thanks to "increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the air from the burning of fossil fuels, the climate no longer needs a strong natural extra dose of warming in order to set a new temperature milestone," — i.e., a strong El Niño event did not affect July's record-setting temperature as it did in 2016.

Go deeper: Why today's global warming is "unprecedented"

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All the global temperature records broken in 2019, so far

Data: NASA GISS; Graphic: Harry Stevens/Axios

The world's top 5 warmest years on record have occurred since 2014 — and it's almost certain that 2019 will be added to this list as well.

Why it matters: Such trends are indicative of long-term global warming due to human activities such as burning fossil fuels for energy and transportation, cutting down forests for agriculture and other purposes. Only 1 of the top 20 warmest years on record since instrument data began in 1880 took place before the year 2000. With greenhouse gas concentrations in the air at their highest level in 3 million years, the odds favor more record-shattering years in the future.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Aug 18, 2019

Why climate change is so hard to tackle: The global problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democratic presidential hopefuls are calling for aggressive action to reduce heat-trapping emissions, while nations are facing pressure to ramp up commitments ahead of a major United Nations summit next month.

The big picture: Despite that fervor, progress on climate change remains elusive. We have cultivated a deep dependence on fossil fuels that have been driving Earth’s temperature up for more than a century, creating a problem whose mostly negative impacts are unfolding over more centuries.

Go deeperArrowAug 19, 2019

NOAA chief: Weather should not be a partisan issue

Trump gives an Oval Office briefing on the status of Hurricane Dorian, Sept. 4. Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

NOAA acting administrator Neil Jacobs on Tuesday both defended the Trump administration and thanked forecasters who contradicted the president’s claims about Hurricane Dorian threatening Alabama, AP and the Washington Post report.

Why it matters: Per AP, meteorologists have been concerned that NOAA had risked the credibility of the U.S. weather and science agency, and perhaps even lives, by issuing an unsigned statement Friday supporting President Trump's claim, after the National Weather Service's Birmingham office tweeted that Alabama would not be impacted.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Sep 11, 2019