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NOAA names 2020 second-hottest year on record; NASA says it tied for hottest ever

Every January we get a series of notices from different climate agencies about how the recently-ended year’s climate compares to previous years. Since each agency calculates the global average temperature in a slightly different way, it’s really no surprise that they don’t always agree on the exact temperature value and how it compares to other years. This year, 2020, is one of those years. NOAA’s method of calculation of global temperature showed that it was the second-hottest for the period starting in 1895. NASA, using a different method that places a heavier weight on the Arctic since there are more satellite measurements there, said it was the hottest ever. If I showed you estimates from other agencies like the European or Japanese climate groups, they might place it slightly higher or lower. But all of them show that 2020 was an exceptionally hot year compared to the long-term record and continue the trend towards warmer years that we expect due to the global warming that is current underway due to increases in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. You can read more in Yale Climate Connections here.