Climate Action

Just how much is the Earth heating up?

Scientists at NOAA are projecting that 2020 will become the second-hottest year ever recorded. Image: Unsplash

Katharina Buchholz
Data Journalist, Statista
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  • August 2020 was about 2.14°C hotter than the average month recorded on Earth since 1880.
  • As confirmed by NASA and NOAA, the months from February to April as well August 2020 were the second-warmest in history.
  • These changes in global warming will lead to changes in the strength, frequency, spatial extent and duration of extreme weather events.

Data from NASA shows the Earth gradually heating up since the late 19th century. Since the year 2000, this trend seems to have accelerated as shown in the visualization of the data released. August 2020 was about 2.14° C hotter than the average month recorded on Earth since 1880.

As seen by the monthly temperatures of selected years since 1880, winter temperature is naturally below the multiyear mean of the reference period, which is a single figure showing the monthly mean temperature over a long period of time irrespective of seasons. Summer temperatures are naturally above the base period multiyear mean but have been diverging further and further from it.

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As confirmed by NASA and NOAA, the months from February to April as well August 2020 were the second-warmest of their kind ever recorded, while January and May and July 2020 about tied for second-place.

Scientists at NOAA are projecting that 2020 will become the second-hottest year ever recorded. As of now, 2016 exceeded the Earth's mean temperature most (calculated for the years from 1980 to 2015 and used as a reference period for the chart). 2019 was also really scorching and is currently the second-hottest year on record.

The global data for near-surface temperatures comes from onshore weather stations as well as from ship, buoys and satellite measurements of the oceans. According to scientific findings, the continuing global warming will lead to changes in the strength, frequency, spatial extent and duration of extreme weather events.

Earth is heating up.
Earth is heating up. Image: Statista
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