NASA Finds 2020 Tied for Hottest Year on Record

  • Released Thursday, January 14th, 2021
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:44PM
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Globally, 2020 was the hottest year on record, effectively tying 2016, the previous record. Overall, Earth’s average temperature has risen more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1880s.
Temperatures are increasing due to human activities, specifically emissions of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide and methane.

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Complete transcript available.

This data visualization of black carbon from the GEOS forward processinf (GEOS-FP) model shows the abundande and direction of black carbon from New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland blowing through the atmosphere from November 1-18.

The summer of 2020 was marked by extremefires in Siberia and the Western United States. Series of extensive and powerful wildfires charred vast swaths of forest and shrubland and altered the composition of the atmosphere in the Northern Hemisphere.

We study Earth and how it’s changing from the ground, the sky, and space.

We study Earth and how it’s changing from the ground, the sky, and space.

Using data from sensors all around the planet, we calculate the global average temperature, working with our partners at NOAA.

Using data from sensors all around the planet, we calculate the global average temperature, working with our partners at NOAA.

NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, based on data from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies/Gavin Schmidt

NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, based on data from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies/Gavin Schmidt

NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, based on data from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies/Gavin Schmidt

NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, based on data from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies/Gavin Schmidt

NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, based on data from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies/Gavin Schmidt

NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, based on data from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies/Gavin Schmidt

National Interagency Fire Center image of Loyalton Fire in August 2020

National Interagency Fire Center image of Loyalton Fire in August 2020



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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


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