July was Earth’s warmest month on record as global warmth persists

Global temperatures in July were at its highest levels since record-keeping began in January 1880, marking the 15th consecutive month of record warmth on Earth, according to the U.S. Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 16.67°C (62.01°F) in July, which is 0.87°C (1.57°F) above the 20th century average. It marks the globe's warmest month since records began nearly 137 years ago.

During the month of July, a temperature of 54.0°C (129.2°F) was recorded in Mitrabah in Kuwait, which would make it the highest temperature ever recorded in Asia and the Eastern hemisphere as a whole. The temperature is still being verified, but the Iraqi city of Basra also recorded a temperature of 53.9°C (128°C).

Across the globe as a whole, Asia experienced its second warmest July on record, with unusually warm temperatures engulfing areas like Hong Kong. Oceania experienced its 4th warmest July, North America its 5th, and Africa and Europe their 7th warmest July.

The average temperature across land surfaces alone tied with 1998 as the warmest month on record, but particularly ocean surfaces were significantly warmer than the average, setting a new record. Taken together, the globe as a whole experienced its warmest month since records began in January 1880.

"Much-warmer-than average temperatures engulfed most of the world's oceans during July 2016, with record high sea surface temperatures across parts of the western, southwestern, central and southeastern Pacific Ocean, northeastern Indian Ocean, and the southern and western Atlantic Ocean," NOAA said.

In addition to July being the warmest month on record, the January-to-July period also marked the warmest first half year since records began.

The Earth has now experienced 15 consecutive months of record-breaking global temperatures, and the 10 highest monthly temperature departures on record have now all occurred over the last 17 months. The year 2015 marked the warmest year on Earth since record-keeping began, and 2016 is expected to smash that record.

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