Despite the presence of a La Niña event in the Pacific Ocean, the year 2020 continues to heat up, with September of this year coming in as the hottest one on record, beating September 2015 and 2016’s former top spot. Adding to the mess, both the third quarter and year-to-date global temperatures of 2020 ranked at number two, second only to the El Niño-fueled climates of the same periods in 2016.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Center for Environmental Information, global land and sea temperatures for September 2020 rose 0.97°C (1.75°F) above the 20th-century average of 15.0°C (59.0°F), edging out September 2015 and 2016’s shared former record of 0.95°C (1.71°F).

Both the third quarter and January-September periods of 2020 came in as the second hottest on record, coming in at 0.94°C (1.69°F) and 1.02°C (1.84°F), respectively, above the 20th century average. Q3 for this year missed tying for first place with Q3 2016 by a mere 0.01°C (0.02°F), while January-September missed by a slightly larger margin of 0.04°C (0.07°F); the start of the same nine-month period in 2016 hosted a record-breaking back-to-back El Niño, but saw temperatures cool off in the latter half of the year. This doesn’t bode well for 2020 overall, a year that is expected to become at least the third hottest year on record—and unless things cool off over the remainder of the year, the hottest—a continuation of the running trend of each consecutive year topping the previous one.

Rising temperatures around the planet have contributed to global warming-exacerbated disasters, including heat waves that have scorched Siberia and Death Valley alike; wildfires have consumed record amounts of land, including over 4.2 million acres burned in California alone.

Although the 2020 North Atlantic Hurricane Season is currently only the second most active on record, at this point in 2005 (the most active on record) Hurricane Alpha, that year’s 22nd named storm, hadn’t yet formed, with the 27th named storm (Zeta) not appearing until the end of December; with the formation of Tropical Storm Epsilon, 2020 is already up to 26 named storms… and we still have two months left in the year.

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