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July 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth

2019 could prove to be the second-hottest year on record.

Will Newton/Getty Images
  • A new report from the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Programme describes how 2019 has already logged several record-hot months.
  • Alarmingly, these temperature increases are occurring even though the planet is transitioning into a more neutral El Niño phase.
  • This year brought several severe heat waves to Europe, India, and Pakistan, among other areas.


July 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, with temperatures narrowly exceeding the previous record of July 2016, according to meteorologists with the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Programme. Alarmingly, 2019 has already logged several record-hot months – April, May, June – and is expected to be the second-hottest year ever, behind 2016.

"With continued greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting impact on global temperatures, records will continue to be broken in the future," said Jean-Noël Thépaut, head of the Copernicus program.

What's more, 2019 is bringing these scorching temperatures even though the planet is transitioning into a more neutral El Niño phase – a natural climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean that raises temperatures and precipitation levels. People across the globe have suffered from this year's heat, especially during the record-setting heat waves that broiled Europe, India, and Pakistan this summer.

In 2016, Earth's hottest year on record, global temperatures were about 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. If global temperatures rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the planet will likely see more extreme and destructive weather events and food shortages that would affect millions of people, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Copernicus Climate Change Programme

The Paris Agreement set an international goal of "holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C." The difference between a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius and 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels would be significant: longer heatwaves, increased precipitation, problems with food production, and sea level rise. It would also hit certain parts of the planet much harder than others, particularly coastal cities.

Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, said this July has "rewritten climate history, with dozens of new temperature records at the local, national and global level."

"This is not science fiction," Taalas said. "It is the reality of climate change. It is happening now, and it will worsen in the future without urgent climate action. Time is running out to rein in dangerous temperature increases with multiple impacts on our planet."

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The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
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Mystery effect speeds up the universe – not dark energy, says study

Russian astrophysicists propose the Casimir Effect causes the universe's expansion to accelerate.

Black hole accretion disk visualization.

Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Jeremy Schnittman
Surprising Science
  • Astrophysicists from Russia propose a theory that says dark energy doesn't exist.
  • Instead, the scientists think the Casimir Effect creates repulsion.
  • This effect causes the expansion of the universe to accelerate.
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Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

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