Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Earth's hottest month featured extreme heat, drought and wildfires

Reproduced from NOAA; Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios

July was the hottest month on record worldwide, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Why it matters: When it comes to establishing new climate milestones, the Earth is on a roll, thanks in large part to the burning of fossil fuels for energy, as well as deforestation.


  • The monthly temperature record news dropped in the same week as the dire climate report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • That report makes clear that global warming can no longer be viewed as a problem simply for future generations — its effects are already here.
  • The report was the climate science equivalent of the horror movie trope: "The phone call is coming from inside the house."

Details: The Northern Hemisphere land-surface temperature was the highest ever recorded for July, at an unprecedented 2.77°F (1.54°C) above average, NOAA found.

  • The month was the hottest month on record for Asia, and second-hottest for Europe.

During July:

  • California saw a spate of wildfires worsen, as did Oregon, Montana and other western states. One of the fires that began in July, known as the Dixie Fire, is now California's second-largest blaze on record.
  • Brutal heat waves hit Europe and Asia, and vast stretches of Siberia went up in flames, choking population centers with smoke and haze.
  • Turkey set record highs, which helped set the stage for wildfires that broke out in August. Parts of Japan broke temperature records, and Northern Ireland broke its all-time heat record two days in a row.

Yes, but: Climate scientists don't pay very close attention to individual calendar months, but rather to long-term, 30-year-plus trends. But in both cases, the trend lines are clear: The world is getting warmer, quickly, as greenhouse gas concentrations in the air climb.

  • It is nearly certain that 2021 will rank among the top 10 warmest years on record, most likely at number 6 or 7 on NOAA's list. That is despite the presence of a La Niña event in the tropical Pacific Ocean that helped keep global average temperatures lower for a time.

What they're saying: “This new record adds to the disturbing and disruptive path that climate change has set for the globe,” said NOAA administrator Rick Spinrad.

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Keep reading... Show less

Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

Keep reading... Show less

What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories