July 2019 temperatures were the hottest ever recorded globally, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Thursday, confirming earlier observations by the European Union.
"Much of the planet sweltered in unprecedented heat in July, as temperatures soared to new heights in the hottest month ever recorded. The record warmth also shrank Arctic and Antarctic sea ice to historic lows," the agency said.
According to the NOAA, the average global temperature in July was 0.95 degrees Celsius (1.71 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th century average of 15.8 degrees Celsius (60.4 Fahrenheit), making it the hottest July in its records, which go back to 1880.
Last month's temperatures narrowly topped the previous July record, set in 2016, by 0.03 C (0.05 F).
The results had been expected after several European countries including France, Belgium and Germany reported that July smashed previous national temperature records. The Swedish hamlet of Markusvinsa recorded a sizzling 34.8 C (94.6 F), the highest temperature measured north of the Arctic Circle.
According to NOAA's records, 9 of the 10 hottest Julys on record have occurred since 2005 and last month was the 43rd consecutive July above the 20th century average.
The record temperatures notched up in July were accompanied with other major landmarks. Average Arctic sea ice, for example, was almost 20% below average in July, less even than the previous historic low of July 2012.
The July peaks came hot on the heels of a sizzling June, which ended up being the hottest June recorded over the past 140 years.
The year to date is also 0.95 C (1.71 F) above the long-term average, still slightly behind 2016 and on a par with 2017, NOAA said.
Meteorologists expect 2019 won't beat the current record for the warmest year, set in 2016.