2020 was the 2nd hottest year on record, says NOAA

Weather Blog

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Well, let’s add another record to the list. This time, we’re talking temperatures.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) deemed 2020 the second hottest year on record globally.

The year was cooler by less than a tenth of a degree than the hottest year on record, which was 2016.

The average surface and ocean temperature in 2020 was 1.76 degrees Fahrenheit above average.

The Northern Hemisphere saw its hottest year on record at 2.30 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th Century average.

Notice how much of the Atlantic Ocean was in the “Much Warmer than Average” category on the graphic below. That’s just one of the many ingredients that led to our record-breaking hurricane season.

It was the 44th consecutive year where global temperatures for both land and ocean were above the 20th Century average.

The world’s seven warmest years have all occurred since 2014, while 10 of the warmest years have occurred since 2005.

So let’s recap a few key things:

1.) 2020 was the second hottest year on record for land and ocean, per NOAA.

2.) These above-average ocean and land temperatures helped play a role in our record-breaking Atlantic Hurricane Season where 30 storms were named, 12 of which made landfall on the contingent U.S.

3.) Warmer ocean temperatures help fuel storms such as hurricanes, allowing them to become stronger and last longer. In addition, they allowed storms to form more frequently. This is not the SOLE reason, however, it does play a part.

4.) The U.S. broke the record for natural disasters in 2020 with 22 separate events causing $1 billion or more in damage. In total, those natural disasters cost the U.S. upwards of $95 billion. Since 1980, the U.S. has lost almost $1.9 trillion to natural disasters.

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