According to NASA, 2020 has effectively tied 2016 as the hottest year on record, with the global average temperature 1.84 degrees Fahrenheit (1.02 degrees Celsius) warmer than the baseline 1951-1980 mean.
“The last seven years have been the warmest seven years on record, typifying the ongoing and dramatic warming trend,” said Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Director Gavin Schmidt. “Whether one year is a record or not is not really that important – the important things are long-term trends. With these trends, and as the human impact on the climate increases, we have to expect that records will continue to be broken.”
Notably, 2020’s temperature level was hit without it being an El Niño year, as it was in 2016. Across the globe, in nearly every country in the world, temperatures were above average, with Europe and Asia seeing their hottest years on record, and the planet’s oceans having their third warmest year to date. Even small changes in the average global temperature can lead to drastic extremes in certain regions, such as Phoenix’s 140 days above 100 degrees (F).
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Photo credit for image at top: NOAA