Scorching temperatures around the world last month tied August 2019 as the second-hottest August on record and capped off the hottest Northern Hemisphere summer (June through August), tied with 2016. The heat also impacted Arctic sea ice coverage, shrinking it to the second smallest for the month on record.
Here are highlights from NOAA’s latest monthly global climate report:
Climate by the numbers
The average global temperature in August was 1.66 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 60.1 degrees, tying it with 2015 and 2017 as the second-hottest August in the 140-year record, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The hottest August on record was August 2016, and the five hottest Augusts on record have all occurred since 2014.
The global sea surface temperature last month was 1.51°F above the 20th century monthly average of 61.4°F, making it the highest global ocean temperature for August on record.
Meteorological summer (Northern Hemisphere) | Year to date
June through August 2019, was the Northern Hemisphere’s hottest meteorological summer on record, tied with 2016. The period of June through August, which also marks the Southern Hemisphere’s winter, was the planet’s second hottest in the 140-year record at 1.67 degrees F above the 20th-century average, behind June-August of 2016. The last five June-August periods are the five hottest on record.
The period from January through August produced a global temperature that was 1.69 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 57.3 degrees, making it the third hottest January-August period on record after 2016 and 2017.
More notable stats and facts
- Sea ice retreats: The August Arctic sea ice coverage was 30.1 percent below average, right behind August 2012’s record-lowest extent. Antarctic sea ice extent was the fifth smallest August extent on record.
- Regional record heat: Europe, Africa and the Hawaiian region had August temperatures that ranked among their three hottest Augusts on record.
- Scorching season for some: Africa had its warmest June–August since records began. South America and Europe had a June–August temperature that ranked among the three-warmest such periods on record.