2020 Second Hottest Year on Record

It’s official: 2020 ranks as the second-hottest year on record for the world, knocking 2019 down to third most popular, according to an analysis by NOAA researchers.

The average land and ocean surface area temperature level across the world in 2020 was 1.98 of a degree C) above average– just 0.

The Northern Hemisphere saw its hottest year on record at 2.30 degrees F (1.28 degrees C) above the 20 th-century average.

Land and Ocean Temperature Percentiles 2020

A world map plotted with color obstructs portraying percentiles of global typical land and ocean temperature levels for the full year2020 Color obstructs depict increasing warmth, from dark blue (record-coldest location) to dark red (record-warmest area) and covering locations in between that were “much cooler than typical” through “much warmer than typical”. Credit: NOAA NCEI

The world’s seven-warmest years have all happened given that 2014, with 10 of the warmest years happening given that 2005.

It was also Earth’s 44 th successive year with international land and ocean temperature levels, a minimum of nominally, above the 20 th-century average, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

2020 Second Warmest Year on Record

A month-by-month animation of temperature levels for January through December 2020 compared to the 1981–2010 average, with warm abnormalities (difference from the typical temperature level) of some locations in red and cool abnormalities in blue. The last slide reveals the 2020 average. Credit: NOAA Climate.gov, using NOAA NCEI data

2020 as ranked by other scientific organizations

NASA scientists, who carried out a separate but similar analysis, have actually identified that 2020 ties 2016 as the warmest year on record, sharing the first-place spot.

Scientists from Copernicus likewise have 2020 connecting with 2016 as the hottest year on record, while the UK Met Office ranked 2020 as the second-warmest year on record.

The state of sea ice

The 2020 average yearly Arctic sea ice level (coverage) was approximately 3.

The yearly Antarctic sea ice level was near average at 4.44 million square miles.

Climate Anomalies 2020

An annotated map of the world outlined with the year’s most considerable environment events. Please see the story below as well as the report summary from NOAA NCEI at http://bit.ly/Global202012 Credit: NOAA NCEI

Extra NOAA findings

  • International hurricanes in 2020 tied a record: A total of 103 named storms happened worldwide in 2020, connecting the record number seen in2018 The North Atlantic played an unusually large role in the worldwide activity in 2020, accounting for about 30%of the worldwide accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) and named storms– which is more than twice its normal share.
  • 37 degrees F (0.76 of a degree C) above the 20 th-century average– only 2016 and 2019 were warmer.

  • Northern Hemisphere saw sporadic snow cover: The average yearly Northern Hemisphere snow cover for 2020 was 9.31 million square miles. This was the fourth-smallest annual snow cover in the 1967–2020 record.
  • December 2020: Last month’s average temperature level across worldwide land and ocean surfaces was 1.40 degrees F (0.78 of a degree C) above the 20 th-century average, making it the eighth-warmest December in the 1880–2020 record.


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