July 2019 has replaced July 2016 as the hottest month on record.

The European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service analyses temperature data from around the planet, and has found July was about 0.56 °C warmer than the global average temperature between 1981-2010.

That makes it slightly hotter than July 2016, during one of the strongest El Niño events on record.

“While July is usually the warmest month of the year for the globe, according to our data it also was the warmest month recorded globally by a very small margin,” Jean-Noël Thépaut, head of the Copernicus program.

“With continued greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting impact on global temperatures, records will continue to be broken in the future.”

Copernicus says 2015 to 2018 have been the four warmest years on record, while April, May and July this year are among the warmest on record for those months. This June was the hottest ever.

The global temperature is close to 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and rapidly approaching the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees.

At that point, experts suggest a high likelihood of extreme weather events and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people.

Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organisation, says July 2019 has “rewritten climate history, with dozens of new temperature records at the local, national and global level”.

“This is not science fiction. It is the reality of climate change. It is happening now, and it will worsen in the future without urgent climate action. Time is running out to rein in dangerous temperature increases with multiple impacts on our planet.”