Sunday 29 November, 2020

August was the world's 2nd hottest month on record, says NOAA

Photo via iStock.

Photo via iStock.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says August was the world’s second hottest month in the agency’s 141-year-record.

In a report published September 14, the NOAA said not only was August 2020 the second-warmest August on record, but the Northern Hemisphere had its warmest summer, with the average temperature 1.03 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average.

Here are highlights from NOAA’s latest monthly global climate report:

Climate by the numbers

August 2020

According to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, the average global land and ocean surface temperature in August was 1.69 degrees F (0.94 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average of 60.1 degrees F (15.6 degrees C), making it the second-hottest August in the 141-year record, behind August 2016.

The Northern Hemisphere had its hottest August on record with a temperature departure from average of 2.14 degrees F (1.19 degrees C), besting the previous record set in August 2016. 

Globally, the 10 warmest Augusts have all occurred since 1998 — with the five warmest occurring since 2015.

The year to date (YTD) & meteorological summer 

The 3-month season from June through August 2020 was the Northern Hemisphere’s hottest meteorological summer on record, surpassing both 2019 and 2016 which were previously tied for hottest. 

This period, which also marks the Southern Hemisphere’s winter, was Earth’s third warmest in the 141-year record at 1.66 degrees F (0.92 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average. 

Globally, the YTD (January through August) ranked as 2nd hottest recorded, at 1.85 degrees F (1.03 degrees C) above the 20th-century average of 57.3 degrees F (14.0 degrees C) — just behind the record set in 2016. The Northern Hemisphere’s YTD tied with 2016 as the hottest since global records began in 1880.

According to a statistical analysis done by NCEI scientists, 2020 is very likely to rank among the five-warmest years on record.

A map of the world plotted with some of the most significant weather and climate events that occurred during August 2020. For more details, see the bullets below in this story and more from the NOAA report at

More notable climate stats and facts

  • Arctic sea ice continued declining: The average Arctic sea ice extent (coverage) in August was the third smallest on record, 29.4 per cent below the 1981–2010 average, according to analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Centeroffsite link. Antarctic sea ice extent was close to normal, and had its highest coverage since 2016.
  • A few continents baked: North America as a whole had its hottest August on record (the Caribbean region saw its third-hottest), beating the previous record set in 2011 by 0.23 of a degree F (0.13 of a degree C). Elsewhere, Europe had its third hottest August, and South America and Oceania had their fourth hottest August. 
  • 2020 has been a real boiler of a year, so far: Europe, Asia and the Caribbean region had their hottest January-August period on record. South America’s YTD average temperature ranked as 2nd-hottest ever recorded. 

For the full report see here:

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: