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News Break: Ocean Surface Temperatures Warmest for July on Record

On the heels of record ocean surface temperatures for June, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports global ocean surface temperatures have reached another record, with the warmest readings for July on record, and equaling the record ocean surface temperatures set for June, at 1.06 degrees Fahrenheit (0.57 Celsius) above the 20th century average of 61.5 degrees F.  The previous July record was set in 1998 (a strong El Niño year.

The combined land/ocean global average temperature for July was the fifth warmest on record, at 1.03 degrees F above the 20th century average of 60.4 degrees. Global land surface temperatures for July ’09 tied July 2003 as the ninth warmest on record, or 0.92 degrees F above the 20th century average of 57.8 degrees F.

Contributing to the record warm ocean temperatures is the El Niño, which persists across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

Arctic sea ice cover for July was 12.7% below the 1970-2000 average, with ice extent at about 3.4 million square miles on average. Sea ice extent for July ’09 is the third lowest on record, behind July of 2007 and 2006. July arctic sea ice extent has declined by 6.1% per decade since 1979, while Antarctic sea ice has increased 0.8% per decade over the same period.

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