Last month was the hottest month globally to ever be recorded, scientists with a climate monitoring programme have said.
Researchers with the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) released their findings on Monday, which said July 2019 had marginally surpassed the previous record set exactly three years earlier.
In a statement, the programme said July this year was around 0.04C warmer than the previous all-time record holder – July 2016.
But it is important to note that the 2016 world record was set after a Pacific weather phenomenon known as an El Nino took hold, which can increase temperatures globally.
A strong El Nino weather event was not present in 2019.
July this year saw heatwaves scorch locations all over the globe, with European countries including the UK, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands each toppling their all-time temperature records.
Not only was it the hottest ever month on record, but it was also on average 0.56C warmer than other months of July between 1981 and 2010, according to Copernicus.
In Greenland, the heat has caused the world’s second largest ice sheet to melt at an alarming rate, while wildfires in Siberia have razed around three million hectares of land – an area nearly the size of Belgium.
This followed further record-breaking temperatures in June, which was also the warmest June on record and saw France reach 46C (114.8F), another all-time nationwide high.
The UN notes that these repeated record-breaking temperatures are all a product of climate change, and could result in the five-year period between 2015 and 2019 also becoming the hottest ever.
Speaking on the data set released for July 2019, UN secretary general Antonio Guterres stressed that the race against climate change was “the race of our lives”.
He said: “If we do not take action on climate change now, these extreme weather events are just the tip of the iceberg. And, indeed, the iceberg is also rapidly melting.
“Preventing irreversible climate disruption is the race of our lives, and for our lives. It is a race that we can and must win.”
In an email, Copernicus noted that the margin between its data set for July 2016 and July 2019 was “very small”, and that there was typically “a difference provided by the global temperature data sets of various institutions”.