The extreme heat wave last month was on par with record high temperatures noted in July 2016.

People enjoying summer on the beach
Credit: Jasmin Merdan / Getty Images

If you felt the need to stay in air conditioning 24/7 throughout the month of July, you're not alone. Meteorologists estimate that July 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded; global average temperatures are on the same level as July 2016, which was previously the hottest ever. Scientists at The Copernicus Climate Change Programme reported that the global average temperature between July 1-29 is estimated at 61.88 degrees Fahrenheit.

Copernicus also noted that April, May, and June had record high temperatures as well. Heat waves haven't just impacted the United States; all-time high temperatures were felt across Europe and the Arctic, where Greenland's ice sheet had "one of its greatest melting events ever," according to The Washington Post.

Preliminary data shows that July was the hottest month on record for Alaska, at one point reaching its first 90 degree high on the Fourth of July. Parts of the New England including Boston, Massachusetts, Hartford, Connecticut, and Portland, Maine all topped their previous record highs. Boston had at least twelve days of 90-degree-plus temperatures.

Don't expect these extreme temperatures to be temporary. Scientists believe that climate change is the reason for high temperatures and extreme heat waves, and we can expect to see temperatures continue to peak in the coming years if greenhouse gas emissions rise. "If we do not take action on climate change now, these extreme weather events are just the tip of the iceberg. And that iceberg is also rapidly melting," Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres told reporters at a press briefing.

If you are living through a heat wave, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, visit cooling centers or air-conditioned spaces, and stay indoors between 11am and 4pm when the sun is strongest. Look out for pets, small children, and elderly, who are most vulnerable during these conditions.


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