Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Last month was the fourth-hottest July on record since record keeping began in 1880, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday.
The agency said the average global temperature was 61.75 degrees Fahrenheit, 1.35 degrees above the 20th century average. It also marked the 42nd consecutive July and 403rd consecutive month of above-average temperatures.
The hottest July on record was in 2016 with an average global temperature of 62.01 degrees.
NOAA said the Arctic sea ice coverage was smaller than normal in July 2018, 13.2 percent below the 1981-2010 average. It was the ninth-smallest coverage for the month of July on record.
The year-to-date average global temperature was 1.39 degrees above the average of 59.9 degrees.
This year's warm July was thanks in part to record heat in countries near the Arctic Ocean, and in Scandinavia, northwest Africa, southern Asia and southwest United States.
A study published Monday in the journal Nature Communications said summer weather patterns are stalling, meaning a string of warm days are more likely to turn into a heat wave, and light showers are more likely to become a torrential downpour, triggering flooding.