According to new data released from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, July 2021 earned the title of Earth's hottest month in its recorded history! The land and ocean-surface temperature measured in at 1.67 degrees F above the average of 60.4 degrees F, making it the hottest month since records began 142 years ago.  According to the NCEI's Global Annual Temperature Rankings Outlook, it's extremely likely that 2021 will be among one of the top ten hottest years on record, based off the data from last month.

“In this case, first place is the worst place to be,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D said, “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.”

Climate change is having a "unprecedented" effect on the world, making some of the changes to our environment likely "irreversible for centuries to millennia" according to a United Nations report released earlier this month. The report's authors say that global surface temperatures have risen faster since 1970 than in any other 50-year period in the last 2,000 years.

A collage of typical climate and weather-related events: floods, heatwaves, drought, hurricanes, wildfires and loss of glacial ice. (NOAA)
A collage of typical climate and weather-related events: floods, heatwaves, drought, hurricanes, wildfires and loss of glacial ice. (NOAA)

Climate change is causing a variety of changes in many regions, all of which are projected to get worse as temperatures continue to rise. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that climate change is intensifying the water cycle and affecting rainfall patterns, meaning heavy rainfall can lead to flooding or drought in other regions. Coastal areas will continue to see sea level rise, contributing to more frequent and severe flooding in low-lying areas as well as coastal erosion. They project that severe sea level events that previously only occurred once every 100 years could potentially increase to yearly events by the end of the century. The say further warming will accelerate permafrost thawing, leading to loss of seasonal snow cover, glacier and ice sheet melting, and the loss of summer Arctic sea ice. Some aspects of climate change may be amplified most in cities, such as flooding from heavy precipitation, sea level rise in coastal cities, and increased heat (because cities are typically warmer than their surroundings).

“Stabilizing the climate will require strong, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and reaching net zero CO2 emissions. Limiting other greenhouse gases and air pollutants, especially methane, could have benefits both for health and the climate,” said IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Panmao Zhai.

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.

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