July 2021 was the hottest month on Earth since record-keeping began 142 years ago, according to data released Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — an “unenviable distinction” that could ratchet up anxiety about climate change.
“In this case, first place is the worst place to be,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said in a statement. “July is typically the world’s warmest month of the year, but July 2021 outdid itself as the hottest July and month ever recorded.”
The combined land- and ocean-surface temperature around the world was 1.67 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average of 60.4 degrees, according to NOAA.
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Sweltering heat waves have grappled large swaths of the U.S., Europe and Asia this summer. The extreme heat coupled with drought has also stoked raging wildfires across Southern Europe and western U.S. states.
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