June 2019 Was Hottest June in 140 Years of Record Keeping, But Scientists Aren’t Surprised

Eddie Villegas takes a breather after a vigorous run on this sweltering day at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. (Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Eddie Villegas takes a breather after a vigorous run on this sweltering day at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. (Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Summer is only a month old, but one record has already been smashed. Average thermometer readings around the globe reached previously unseen highs, making June 2019 the hottest June on record, according to new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Scorching temperatures also brought Antarctic sea-ice coverage to a new low for the second month in a row, the administration said.

Second warmest year to date

The 20th-century average thermometer reading for June was 59.9 degrees Fahrenheit, yet global temperatures in June 2019 averaged 1.71 degrees above that, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. In 140 years of recording temperatures, that’s the hottest June scientists have witnessed.

Though a new record, it comes as no surprise to those who watch the weather: Nine of the 10 hottest Junes have occurred since 2010. In fact, last month was the 43rd consecutive June that rose above averages of the past.

Adding to that, last month was also the 414th consecutive month recording above-average global temperatures. From January to June, global temperatures rose 1.71 degrees above the 20th-century average of 56.3 degrees.

If you were to average temperatures worldwide, this year is now tied with 2017 as the second warmest year-to-date on record.

Exceptions to the ‘average’ rule

Beyond arithmetic means, some regions — Alaska, western Canada, South America, parts of the southern portion of Africa, Madagascar, New Zealand, Mexico, eastern Asia, the Atlantic and Indian oceans, and the Bering Sea — experienced their highest temperatures ever during the first half of the year.

There were temperature outliers at the opposite end of the scale for the first six months of the year as well and many Americans, for example, experienced a slightly chillier year-to-date than usual. Temperatures between January and June in the contiguous United States and southern Canada ranged at least 1.8 degrees cooler than average.

Meanwhile, sea ice at both poles of the globe keeps melting. As global temperatures soared higher than previously recorded, Antarctic sea-ice in June, which averaged 425,000 square miles, covered an 8.5% smaller area than in the years 1981 through 2010 — the smallest recorded expanse of sea-ice in the southern pole region for June.

In the north, the average Arctic sea ice coverage at 475,000 square miles was 10.5% below the 1981-2010 average and the second-smallest on record for the month. Sea ice covered 46,300 fewer square miles in June 2016 — the record-holder — than last month.

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