Northern hemisphere had hottest ever summer in 2020, say scientists

Kit Heren
·2-min read
Getty Images
Getty Images

The northern hemisphere had its hottest summer ever in 2020, US scientists have said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) added that this year will probably be in the top five warmest years on record, and that last month was the second-hottest August ever.

June, July and August were 1.17C about the average temperature for the three-month summer period, topping previous records set in 2019 and 2016.

The ten warmest Augusts have all taken place since 1998 – while the five warmest have all been since 2015, according to NOAA data.

The southern hemisphere also saw land and ocean temperatures reach their sixth-highest average level, the organisation said.

The new figures come after a summer of brutal forest fires in the Western US, with the states of California and Oregon hit particularly hard.

At least 35 people have died in the series of huge blazes that have swept the region, with tens of thousands forced to abandon their homes.

The highest temperature ever reliably recorded on Earth – 54.4C – was registered in Death Valley in eastern California on Sunday, while LA County also saw a record-breaking temperature of 49.4C on the same day.

The UK has also seen extreme weather this year, with the country's third-highest temperature ever recorded this year at 37.8C.

Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden has criticised Donald Trump for his record on climate change, and warned voters that he will not take action if granted a second term.

"If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires, how many suburban neighbourhoods will have been flooded out, how many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms?, he asked in a speech in Delaware.

“If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze … when more of America is under water?”