EarthWatch: 2020 Tied for Warmest Year on Record

Video Player

Video Versions

Earth’s average temperature has risen more than 1.2°C (2°F) since the late 19th century and long-term global temperature trends indicate that temperature records will continue to be broken. 

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with the NASA Earth Observatory:  

Text, Earth Watch, Exploring the blue planet by satellite. Earth Observatory. Earth Observatory dot nasa dot gov. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. 2020 tied for warmest year on record. Analysis shows that Earth's global average surface temperature in 2020 tied with 2016 for the warmest year on record.
Temperature Difference in degrees Celsius compared to 1951 to 1980 average.
The globally averaged temperature in 2020 was 1.02 degrees Celsius, 1.84 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the baseline 1951 to 1980 mean.
This difference between the temperature over a specific year and average temperature over many years is known as the temperature anomaly.
This bar chart shows the 2020 temperature anomaly in the context of the past 140 years. Global Average Temperature Difference in Degrees Celsius. A graph trends upward from minus .5 in early 1900s up to plus one degree Celsius in 2020.
Text, The values represent surface temperatures averaged over the globe for the next year.
Tracking global temperature trends provides a critical indicator of the impact of human activities on our planet, specifically greenhouse gas emissions.
Earth's average temperature has risen more than 1.2 degrees Celsius, 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century.
A new graph appears. Text, Temperature difference in degrees Celsius compared to 1980 to 2015 Average. This animation shows the seasonal cycle in global temperature anomalies for every month since 1880.
Each line shows how much the global monthly temperature was above or below the global mean of 1980 to 2015.
The temperature difference creates an arc shape that stretches from January to December and tends to peak in July. As the years progress, each year's arc is overlaid upon others to show a general trend. Text, The increase in average temperature occurs throughout the year, not only at certain times of year.
As the years progress, the temperature changes grow much higher. Text, This map shows how the 2020 temperature anomaly varied from region to region across the globe.
Temperature Difference in Degrees Celsius compared to 1951 to 1980 average. Parts of Earth are warming faster than others, with warming trends most pronounced in the Arctic.
A globe is colored in various shades of blue, white, yellow, orange and red. The Arctic is a dark red shade. Areas of Asia and Africa are dark orange. Text, The Arctic has been warming more than three times as fast as the rest of the globe over the past 30 years.
Arctic sea ice has been declining by about 13% per decade.
With less ice to reflect sunlight, the Arctic Ocean absorbs more heat, causing temperatures to rise even further.
Analysis of long-term, global temperature trends indicate that temperature records will continue to be broken around the world.
To learn more, go to earth observatory dot nasa dot gov.