2020 Could be the Hottest Year Ever

July 20, 2020 by Jacob Pederson

The National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration has proclaimed 2020 is on track to be the hottest year on record.

This past June was the 44th in a row that saw hotter than average temperatures, the agency said last week. It was 1.66°F above the 20th century average, slightly behind June 2016 and 2019.

Monthly temperatures have been warmer than usual for 426 consecutive months with nine out of the 10 warmest years on record occurring since 2010, the agency said.

Meanwhile, parts of South America, Europe, Asia, and the Gulf of Mexico experienced record breaking temperatures for the first half of the year. 

The town of Verkhoyansk in the Siberia region of Russia recorded a temperature of 100.4°F in mid-June which could be the highest temperature ever recorded north of the Arctic Circle if it is verified, according to NOAA.

Such temperatures in this region “would have been almost impossible without the influence of human-caused climate change,” said top climate scientists in a recent analysis.

Because of the abnormal heat, more than 2.8 million acres have been burned by wildfires in Siberia this year, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Higher than average occurrences of thunderstorms in Alaska have resulted in 108,000 acres of fires on the state’s Arctic tundra, according to the Western Regional Climate Center.

“These are some of the largest tundra fires on record,” said the WRCC.

Precipitation patterns around the planet are also in flux due to this year’s abnormal climate conditions, according to NOAA.

Abnormally low precipitation in Arizona helped spark a 143,000 acre wildfire, the fifth largest in the history of the state, the agency said.

One of the reasons why climate records weren’t shattered this year is because of other variations in the climate, such as warmer temperatures caused by El Niño and cooler temperatures caused by La Niña in the Pacific Ocean, which can bring global temperatures up and down temporarily while it’s warming overall, said NOAA climate scientist Ahira Sanchez-Lugo. 

“Climate change is like an escalator, which will take you in an upward trajectory. However, an El Niño is like jumping on the escalator, taking you to higher levels, while La Niña is like you are crouching on the escalator,” she said. “However, the escalator will continue to take you upwards.”

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