Extreme heat: record summer in the northern hemisphere; the world was just a few days away from its warmest August

Geneva, Switzerland – The Northern Hemisphere has recorded the hottest summer on record, with the average temperature between June and August 1.66ยฐF higher than the average, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported Tuesday with data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The mark surpasses the hottest summers so far, recorded in 2016 and 2019, stressed WMO spokesperson Clare Nullis at a press conference, who also recalled that the five hottest summer periods so far have been those of the last five years.

Globally, August was the second warmest month on record, 1.69ยฐF above the 20th century average of 60.1F

NOAA figures also reveal that every month for the past 35 years has shown at least nominal temperatures above the 20th century average.

The western United States, Europe, much of Russia and south-east China were the regions where summer temperatures were most above average, the WMO said, adding that heat had been a factor in a particularly destructive fire season in areas such as the west coast of the USA.

The WMO also pointed out, also citing data from the US authorities, that the hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico is so active that the list of names for these meteorological phenomena could be exhausted and letters of the Greek alphabet would have to be used, which has not been the case since 2005.

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Credit:NOAA A map of the world drawn with some of the most important weather and climate events that occurred during August 2020.

US figures

August 2020 will be remembered for its extreme heat and violent weather: the United States endured heat waves, hurricanes, a devastating lawn and raging forest fires in the West, explains NOAA.

The summer weather, from June to the end of August, was outstanding: it was the fourth hottest and the third driest of all summers in the historical record.

The average August temperature in the United States was 74.7 degrees F (2.6 degrees above the 20th century average) and was the third hottest August on record. Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah each had their warmest August on record. In particular, Phoenix, Arizona, had its hottest month on record, with an average temperature of 99.1 degrees F.

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Also on August 16, Death Valley in California reported a high temperature of 130 degrees F. If verified, this would be the highest temperature recorded in August in the U.S. Average August rainfall for the U.S. was 2.35 inches (0.27 of an inch below average), which placed the month in the driest third of the 126-year record.

Arizona, Nebraska and Utah held the record for the driest August on record, while New Mexico and Iowa ranked second and third respectively.

The average US temperature for the year to date (January to August) was 56.3ยฐF, 2.4 degrees above the 20th century average. It ended up as the seventh warmest in the record from January to August.

The United States has seen 21.64 inches of rainfall for the year to date (0.93 inches above the long-term average), making it the third wettest year (January to August).

For the summer weather (June to August), the average temperature for the contiguous United States was 73.6ยฐF, which is 2.2 degrees above average. The summer of 2020 ended as the fourth hottest summer on record in the US.

Total rainfall for the summer was 7.99 inches (0.33 of an inch below average), the third driest on record.

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