Ulster enjoyed mini-heatwave but July ‘hottest in history’

Tilly, Debbie, Charlotte and Daniel Ingram enjoy the weather yesterday at Seapark in Holywood
Tilly, Debbie, Charlotte and Daniel Ingram enjoy the weather yesterday at Seapark in Holywood

Northern Ireland lapped up the second day of a mini-heatwave yesterday - while NASA confirmed July was the world’s hottest ever month on record across the globe.

After a peak temperature of 23.3 degrees in Castlederg on Monday, yesterday saw temperatures consistently in the mid-20s across the Province, with 24.7 degrees at Derrylin, 24.4 at Magilligan, 24.3 at Castlederg, 23.9 at the Giant’s Causeway and 23.7 at Thomastown in Co Fermanagh, the Met Office said.

Scotland had perhaps the highest temperature in the UK with 26.7 at Kinlichewe, while England and Wales also had fine days with 25.6 in both Hampshire and Gwynedd.

The rest of this week will see a return to more mundane weather, however, with overcast showers expected right through until Sunday.

Although yesterday was a fine day, the temperatures did not quite reach the peak of July which saw 28 in Magilligan and 27.9 in Castlederg.

But it was not just Northern Ireland which sweltered last month - the entire Earth saw its hottest month in recorded history, according to NASA.

Even after the fading of a strong El Nino, which raises global temperatures on top of man-made climate change, July broke global temperature records.

NASA calculated that July was 0.84C (1.51F) warmer than the 1950-1980 global average.

Chief climate scientist Gavin Schmidt said that is hotter than the previous top temperatures in July 2011 and July 2015.

Scientists blame mostly man-made climate change from the burning of fossil fuel, with an extra jump from the now-gone El Nino, which is a natural temporary warming of parts of the Pacific Ocean that changes weather world-wide.

Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb said the rise was significant “because global temperatures continue to warm even as a record-breaking El Nino event has finally released its grip”.

NASA’s five hottest months - in records going back to 1880 - are July 2016, July 2011, July 2015, July 2009 and August 2014. Only July 2015 was during an El Nino.

This is the 10th record hot month in a row, NASA says.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will come out with its July figures today. It found 14 monthly heat records broken in a row, before July.

“The scary thing is that we are moving into an era where it will be a surprise when each new month or year isn’t one of the hottest on record,” said Chris Field, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution.