Last month saw the lowest extent of Antarctic sea ice since July, according to the European Union’s Satellite Monitoring Group.
The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) found that Antarctic sea ice extent reached 1.53 million square kilometers (590,000 square miles) — about 1.1 million km2, or seven percent below the 1991-2020 average for July.
This was the lowest ice coverage for July since satellite records began 44 years ago, and also followed record lows in sea ice in Antarctica in June.
C3S said the low ice readings continued a series of below-average monthly magnitudes observed since February 2022.
The service said in its monthly bulletin that the Southern Ocean saw “widespread areas of below average sea ice concentration” last month.
Arctic sea ice coverage, meanwhile, was four percent lower than average, making it the 12th lowest July sea ice extent on record.
In a month that saw temperature records broken in parts of northern Europe and the UK, C3S said July was drier than average for much of the continent, noting a slew of low-rainfall records in several places.
“These conditions impacted local economies and facilitated the spread and intensification of wildfires,” it said.
C3S said July was also unusually dry across much of North America, South America, Central Asia and Australia.
Climate change makes extreme heat and drought more likely.
“We can expect to continue experiencing more frequent and prolonged periods of extremely high temperatures as global temperatures continue to rise,” said C3S lead scientist Freja Vamborg.
However, the service, which said last month, was wetter than usual in eastern Russia, northern China and a major wet band stretching from east Africa through Asia to north-western India.
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