August 20, 2009

July Global Ocean Temperatures Reach Record High

Average ocean surface temperatures reached an all-time high in July, according to a new US agency report.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center reported Thursday that the average global ocean temperature reached 62.6 degrees in July "“ replacing the previous high temperature record set in 1998.

The combined average of global land and surface temperature during July ranked fifth in the overall warmest since records began in 1880, according to the Asheville, N.C.-based NCDC.

Last month, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature reached 1.03 degrees F above the 20th century average of 60.4 degrees F.

Ocean surface temperature in July was 1.06 degrees F above the 20th century average of 61.5 degrees F.

Additionally, the global land surface temperature rose 0.92 degree F above the 20th century average of 57.8 degrees F. It also tied the figures from 2003 as the ninth-warmest July on record.

"The greatest departures from the long-term average were evident in Europe, northern Africa, and much of western North America," said the NCDC. "Broadly, across these regions, temperatures were about 4-7 degrees F (2-4 degrees C) above average."

Temperatures near the Arctic reached as high as 10 degrees above average last month, said the NCDC report.

Sea ice around the Arctic was 12.7 percent below the 1979-2000 average.

"July Arctic sea ice extent has decreased by 6.1 percent per decade since 1979, while July Antarctic sea ice extent has increased by 0.8 percent per decade over the same period," according to the report.

"This is another yet really important indicator of the change that's occurring," climate scientist Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria in British Columbia, told the Associated Press.


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