July 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded across the globe, according to data released by the European Union's satellite-based Earth observation network.

The warmest ever July record follows the world's warmest ever June record, also set this year. Climate data recorded by the Copernicus Climate Change Service shows every month in 2019 has ranked among the four warmest for the month in question.

The European funded Copernicus service is the first of the world's major satellite-based climate monitoring networks to report average July temperatures. Jean-Noel Thepaut, Head of the Service, said in a statement: "With continued greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting impact on global temperatures, records will continue to be broken in the future."

The July record is a marginal 0.04°C warmer than the previous warmest July set in 2016, but the difference is more notable because the 2016 record followed a strong El Nino weather event, which is known to boost average global temperatures beyond the impact of global warming alone.

In the context of global warming, July 2019 was close to 1.2°C above the pre-industrial level, as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Paris Agreement set specific “temperature targets” with a goal to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C by 2050.

Every year in the 21st century except one has been among the hottest on record. Commenting on the latest soaring temperature rises, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: "Preventing irreversible climate disruption is the race of our lives, and for our lives. It is a race that we can and must win."

In a separate but related study, scientists have shown sea level rise started rising 30 years earlier than previously thought and global sea levels have risen by around 20cm over the 20th century, whilst ocean heatwaves have doubled between 1982 and 2016.

Last reviewed 7 August 2019