Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

A deer wanders amid smoke of California fire

A deer wanders in heavy smoke in front of a row of burned cars amid the Dixie fire in Greenville, California on August 6, 2021. (Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)

'All of the Sirens Are Going Off': NOAA Says July Was Hottest Month Ever Recorded

"This is not the new normal. Extreme temperatures and deadly weather will only get worse if we continue business-as-usual."

Jake Johnson

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday that July 2021 was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, a finding that comes just days after a United Nations scientific panel warned that humanity is running out of time to prevent the worst consequences of the climate emergency.

"This new record adds to the disturbing and disruptive path that climate change has set for the globe."
—Rick Spinrad, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

"All of the sirens are going off," Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) tweeted in response to NOAA's announcement. "It is wildly important that Congress take strong, comprehensive action as soon as possible to meet the threat of climate change."

In a press release, NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information noted that with the inclusion of data from last month—which was marked by devastating wildfires across the globe, from California to Turkey to Siberia to Canada—"it remains very likely that 2021 will rank among the world's 10 warmest years on record."

"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. This new record adds to the disturbing and disruptive path that climate change has set for the globe."

NOAA graphic

Based on records dating back to 1880, NOAA's new analysis finds that the combined land and ocean surface temperature in July 2021 was 1.67°F higher than the 20th century average of 60.4°F. Last month's global surface temperature was just slightly higher than that of July 2016, a temperature that was tied in both 2019 and 2020.

"During the month, temperatures were much warmer than average across parts of North America, Europe, northern and southern South America, northern Africa, the southern half of Asia, Oceania, and parts of the western and northern Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans," the U.S. government agency found.

In just the Northern Hemisphere, the land-surface temperature last month was the highest ever recorded in July—an "unprecedented" 2.77°F above the 20th century average.

"The seven warmest Julys have all occurred since 2015," NOAA observed. "July 2021 marked the 45th consecutive July and the 439th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th-century average. Climatologically, July is the warmest month of the year. With July 2021 the warmest July on record, at least nominally, this resulted in the warmest month on record for the globe."

NOAA's findings align with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's warning on Monday that the planet's temperature is rising at an "unprecedented" rate—a trend the U.N. body said can only be reversed by massive and rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels.

"This is not the new normal," the climate advocacy group Friends of the Earth tweeted in response to NOAA's findings. "Extreme temperatures and deadly weather will only get worse if we continue business-as-usual. Meanwhile, every year our government is still throwing billions of tax dollars into the corporations fueling this climate crisis."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Omar Leads Charge Against Baby Formula Monopolies Amid US Shortage

Democrats urge the FTC to probe "any unfair or unsustainable practices, like deceptive marketing, price gouging, and stock buybacks, that may be weakening our nutritional formula supply."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Arbitrary, Racist, and Unfair': Judge Blocks Biden From Ending Title 42

"Only the coyotes profiteering off of people seeking protection have reason to celebrate this ill-reasoned ruling," said one migrant rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


'This Is a War' for Democratic Party's Future, Says Sanders of AIPAC's Super PAC

"They are doing everything they can to destroy the progressive movement in this country," said the senator.

Julia Conley ·


Ginni Thomas Pressed Arizona Lawmakers to Reverse Biden's 2020 Win: Report

"Clarence Thomas' continued service on the Supreme Court is a scandalous and appalling breach of judicial ethics," said one observer. "He is implementing the exact same theories that his wife used to try to steal the 2020 election for Trump."

Brett Wilkins ·


Millions More Kids Going Hungry Since GOP, Manchin Killed Expanded Child Tax Credit

"Even brief disruptions in access to food can have lasting consequences," wrote the authors of a new analysis of worsening hunger among U.S. families.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo