Last July, with its sweltering heat waves, was one of the three hottest heat waves ever recorded worldwide. The European Union’s climate change service, Copernicus, announced on Monday that the month was slightly cooler than July 2019 and marginally warmer than July 2016.
The worldwide average temperature was approximately 0.4 degrees above the period from 1991 to 2020, which the service uses as a reference period. July was also drier than average for much of Europe, resulting in droughts in the southwest and southeast. It was also drier than usual in South America, Central Asia and Australia.
“Heat waves pose a serious health risk, and at the same time they can increase the intensity and longevity of many other catastrophic weather events – such as wildfires and droughts,” said Freya Famburg, senior researcher at Copernicus. This will entail serious risks and damages to agriculture, logistics and energy production.
The long heat wave, which initially caused temperatures of over 40 degrees in Portugal and Spain, but also in France and Great Britain, has led to a number of new record temperatures in many places. According to the Copernicus Service, southwestern Europe experienced the warmest month of July since records began in terms of temperature extremes.
Antarctica’s sea ice volume was 7 percent below average in July – the lowest level since records began 44 years ago.
Copernicus records go back to 1979. The Climate Change Service also uses data from ground stations, balloons, planes, and satellites going back to 1950.