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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

North America just had its hottest June in temperature records that date back to the 1800s, researchers with the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Their monthly analysis helps contextualize the late-month heatwave that saw many temperature records shattered.

  • "These heatwaves are not happening in a vacuum. They are happening in a global climate environment that is warming and which makes them more likely to occur," Copernicus scientist Julien Nicolas tells AFP.
  • Human-induced climate change dramatically increases the odds, severity, extent and longevity of extreme heat events.

By the numbers: June in North America was 1.2°C above the 1991-2020 average. Until last month, the warmest June on record in North America was in 2012 at 1.05°C above that three-decade average, they said.

  • On a worldwide basis, Copernicus said: "June 2021 joins June 2018 as the fourth warmest June on record globally, after the Junes of 2016, 2019 and 2020."

Catch up fast: Last month saw many records fall, often by large margins.That included Portland, Oregon hitting hit 116°F (roughly 46.7°C) and Lytton, British Columbia reaching 121°F (or 49.4°C). That town was devastated by a wildfire the day after that peak.

Go deeper: Pacific Northwest heat wave, Canada temperature record shock experts

Go deeper

Swimmer Chase Kalisz first American to win Tokyo Olympics gold medal

Chase Kalisz of Team United States celebrates after winning the Men's 400m Individual Medley Final on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Swimmer Chase Kalisz has become the first Team United States Olympian to win gold at the Tokyo Games.

Of note: His teammate Jay Litherland took silver, .86 seconds behind him in the men's 400 meters Individual Medley Final.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

DOJ won't investigate nursing home deaths in N.Y. and 2 other states

People who've lost loved ones due to COVID-19 while they were in New York nursing homes attend a March protest and vigil in New York City. As of this month, Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Department of Justice has decided not to launch a civil rights investigation into whether policies in New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan contributed to pandemic deaths in nursing homes, according to a letter sent to Republicans.

Why it matters: The Trump DOJ requested data from the three states plus New Jersey last August "amid still-unanswered questions about whether some states, especially New York, inadvertently worsened the pandemic death toll by requiring nursing homes to accept residents previously hospitalized for COVID-19," per AP.

Former Blizzard CEO says he "failed” women at the studio

Image: Neville Elder / Getty Images

Mike Morhaime, who co-founded and worked at video game studio Blizzard for 28 years, has apologized publicly for toxic work conditions at his former studio, which is now the subject of a discrimination and harassment lawsuit by the state of California.

Why it matters: Morhaime is no longer at Blizzard, but was its leader for most of its existence and therefore was in charge when much of what is alleged in California’s suit would have occurred.

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