Level 1: Elementary
United States government scientists say July 2019 was the hottest month on record worldwide.The average temperature in July was almost one degree Celsius higher than the 20thcentury average of 15.78 degrees. That made it the hottest July on our planet over the past 140 years, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.
July 2019 also was the hottest month on record in the northwestern state of Alaska. Sea ice melted. Bering Sea fish swam in above-normal temperatures. So did children in the city of Nome, Alaska.The state’s wildfire season started early and stayed late. Walruses and other sea creatures appeared in large numbers along the coast.
Alaska’s average temperature in July was 14.5 degrees Celsius. That is 3 degrees above average, NOAA reported.Unusual weather events like this could become more common with climate warming, notes climate researcher Brian Brettschneider. He works for the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Brettschneider says the state has had “multiple decades-long increases” in temperature. “It becomes easier to have these unusual sets of conditions that now lead to records,” he added.The effects have been felt from the Arctic Ocean to the world’s largest temperate rainforest on the Alaskan Panhandle.
Sea ice off of Alaska’s north and northwest coast and other Arctic areas shrank to the lowest level ever recorded for July. That information comes from the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado.Arctic sea ice for July set a record low of 7.6 million square kilometers. That represents a loss of 80,000 square kilometers — or about the size of South Carolina — below the old record low, set in July of 2012.