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July ranks 2nd for heat globally, hottest recorded on land

UPDATED: Thu., Aug. 17, 2017

In this July 13, 2017,  photo, a dog rests next to an air conditioner vent placed in a clothes shop during a hot summer day in Madrid. Earth sizzled to yet another all-time heat record last month. (Francisco Seco / Associated Press)
In this July 13, 2017, photo, a dog rests next to an air conditioner vent placed in a clothes shop during a hot summer day in Madrid. Earth sizzled to yet another all-time heat record last month. (Francisco Seco / Associated Press)
By Seth Borenstein Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Earth yet again sizzled with unprecedented heat last month.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday that Earth sweated to its second hottest month since recordkeeping began in 1880. At 61.89 degrees, last month was behind July 2016’s all-time record by 0.09 degrees.

But Earth’s land temperatures in July were the hottest on record at 59.96 degrees passing July 2016’s by one-seventh of a degree.

Land measurements are important because that’s where we live, said NOAA climate scientist Jake Crouch.

Earlier this week, NASA calculated that July 2017 was a tad hotter than 2016, making it essentially a tie for all-time hottest month. NASA uses a newer set of ocean measurements and includes estimates for the Arctic, unlike NOAA.

Record heat was reported in Africa, Australia, parts of Asia, the Middle East and the Indian ocean, Crouch said.

“There is simply no denying the mounting evidence globally and regionally – the new climate normal is upon us now,” said University of Oklahoma meteorology professor Jason Furtado, who wasn’t part of the new report.

Crouch said this heat is “very strange” because there is no El Nino spiking global temperatures, like in 2016. That shows the hot temperatures are part of a long-term, man-made warming trend, he said. This year is on pace to be the second or third hottest on record.

Scientists highlighted recent extreme weather in the Pacific Northwest, where a prolonged dry spell and unusual 100-degree weather followed an extraordinarily wet winter, sparking wildfires.

That means smoke from wildfires could threaten people’s viewing of Monday’s total solar eclipse, said Oregon State University climate scientist Kathie Dello.

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