November 2020 was the second warmest November since global record keeping began in 1880, behind the record set in 2015, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, NCEI, reported December 14.
NASA rated the month as the warmest November on record, as did the European Copernicus Climate Change Service. The Japan Meteorological Agency rated it as the second-warmest. Minor differences in rankings often occur among various research groups, the result of different ways they handle data-sparse regions such as the Arctic.
For the period September-October-November, the Northern Hemisphere had its second warmest autumn, only 0.01°C (0.02°F) behind the record set in 2015, NCEI reported. The Southern Hemisphere had its ninth warmest spring on record.
The 11 months of January through November were 1.0 degree Celsius (1.8°F) above the 20th-century average, NCEI reported. That 11-month period ranks as the second-warmest such period on record, only 0.01 degrees Celsius (0.02°F) behind the record set in 2016. NASA ranks the period slightly ahead of 2016 as the warmest on record.
According to NCEI’s annual temperature outlook, the year 2020 is virtually certain to rank among the five warmest years on record, making each of the seven calendar years 2014 through 2020 one of the seven warmest years on record, dating back to 1880. The NCEI outlook finds that 2020 has a 55% chance of displacing 2016 as the warmest year on record, and a 45% chance of being the second-warmest year on record.
Global ocean temperatures during November 2020 were the fourth warmest on record, and global land temperatures were the warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures in November 2020 for the lowest eight kilometers of the atmosphere were the second-warmest or warmest in the 42-year record, according to the University of Alabama Huntsville and Remote Sensing Systems, respectively.
Global temperature records are more likely to be set during the peak of the solar cycle, and during strong El Niño events, when the extra heat from the tropical Pacific Ocean is given up to the atmosphere. Remarkably, the record warmth of 2020 has occurred during the minimum of one of the weakest 11-year solar cycles in the past century, and despite the transition from a weak El Niño to a moderate La Niña event, when cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean helps cool global temperatures. That the record warmth of 2020 occurred under those circumstances underscores the dominant role of human-caused global warming in heating the planet.
Five global billion-dollar weather disasters in November; 45 for the year through November
Five billion-dollar weather-related disasters hit Earth in November, bringing this year’s total number of billion-dollar weather disasters through the end of November to 44, according to the November 2020 Catastrophe Report from insurance broker Aon. The year 2020 is now one behind 2011 and 2013 for second place for most billion-dollar weather disasters in any year since 1990. The record is 47, set in 2010. Details on each of the five November 2020 events follow.
– Hurricane Eta, Central America and Southeast U.S.
The deadliest tropical cyclone worldwide in 2020 was Hurricane Eta, which made landfall in northern Nicaragua on November 3 as a category 4 storm with 140 mph winds. Moving very slowly at landfall, Eta lingered for three days over Central America and the adjacent waters, dropping catastrophic amounts of rainfall in excess of 20 inches in some regions. Flooding from Eta’s rains killed at least 215 people and left 49 missing, primarily in Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Panama, according to Aon. Eta was the fourth-deadliest Atlantic hurricane to occur in November or December, according to statistics from NHC. It caused $6.8 billion in damage in Central America.
Eta went on to make three additional landfalls as a tropical storm in Cuba, the Florida Keys, and western Florida, and caused $1.1 billion in damage in the U.S.
– Hurricane Iota, Central America
Just two weeks after Hurricane Eta’s devastating impact in Central America came Hurricane Iota, which peaked as a category 5 storm with 160 mph winds on November 16, making it the latest category 5 hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic. Iota made landfall as a category 4 storm with 155 mph winds in Nicaragua, just 15 miles from where Eta had hit.
Iota brought torrential rains that inundated flooded regions still struggling to recover from Eta, killing 61 people and causing $1.3 billion in damage.
– Super Typhoon Goni, Philippines
Super Typhoon Goni made landfall 30 miles northeast of Legazpi in the Philippines on November 1 with 195 mph winds, making it Earth’s strongest landfalling tropical cyclone ever recorded. Goni killed 31 people, damaged or destroyed 250,000 homes, and caused over $1 billion in damage.
Based on statistics from EM-DAT, the international disaster database, Goni tied with Typhoon Bopha in 2012 and Typhoon Vamco in 2020 as the Philippines’ second most expensive typhoon on record, adjusted for inflation. Only Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 ($11.1 billion) was more damaging.
– Typhoon Vamco, Philippines and Vietnam
Typhoon Vamco made landfall in the Philippines on November 11 as a category 2 storm with 110 mph winds, passing just north of the capital of Manila on November 12 as a category 1 storm with 85 mph winds. Vamco killed 101 people in the Philippines, damaged or destroyed 190,000 homes, and caused over $1 billion in damage.
Based on EM-DAT statistics, Vamco tied with Typhoon Bopha in 2012 and Super Typhoon Goni in 2020 as the Philippines’ second most expensive typhoon on record, adjusted for inflation. Only Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 ($11.1 billion) was more damaging. After hitting the Philippines, Vamco made landfall in Vietnam, where it killed one person and damaged or destroyed 10,000 homes.
– Drought in Brazil
Severe drought gripped significant portions of Brazil in 2020, causing a devastating fire season and heavy agricultural losses. The drought contributed to record wildfires in the Pantanal rainforest – the world’s largest tropical wetland. About a quarter of this portion of the Amazon burned in 2020, surpassing the previous record set in 2005.
Total damage from the Brazilian drought was estimated at $3 billion. According to EM-DAT, the 2020 drought is the third most expensive drought in the nation’s history, behind droughts in 1978 and 2014.
44 billion-dollar weather disasters through November; 25 of them in U.S.
Through the end of November, Earth had 44 billion-dollar weather disasters for the year, with 25 of them in the United States, surpassing Aon’s previous U.S. record of 20 in 2017. The record number of U.S. disasters led to the American Red Cross’s providing record levels of disaster sheltering in 2020, according to a December 2 article by E&E News.
Here is the 2020 list of billion-dollar weather disasters through November, listed by dollars of damage, according to Aon:
1. Flooding, China, Jun.-Sep., $32 billion, 278 killed;
2. Hurricane Laura, U.S., Aug. 27-29, $16 billion, 33 killed;
3. Cyclone Amphan, India and Bangladesh, May 15-22, $13 billion, 118 killed;
4. Severe weather (derecho), Midwest U.S., Aug. 8-12, $10 billion, four killed;
5. Flooding, Japan, Jul. 3-10, $8.5 billion, 82 killed;
6. Hurricane Eta, Central America and Southeast U.S., Nov. 3-7, $7.9 billion, 200+ killed;
7. Hurricane Sally, Southeast U.S., Sep. 11-18, $6.25 billion, eight killed;
8. Flooding, India, Jun.-Sep., $6.0 billion, 1925 killed;
9. Hurricane Isaias, Eastern U.S., Aug. 2-4, $5 billion, 15 killed;
10. Hurricane Delta, Plains and Southeast U.S., Oct. 7-11, $4 billion, 4 killed;
11. Flooding, India, Oct. 1-26, $4 billion, 142 killed;
12. Hurricane Zeta, Southeast U.S., Oct. 24-30, $3.75 billion, 6 killed;
13. Wildfire (Glass Fire), California (U.S.), Sep. 27-Oct. 5, $3.75 billion, zero killed;
14. Wildfire (CZU Complex Fire), California (U.S.), Aug. 17-Sep. 22, $3.5 billion, one killed;
15. Severe weather, Midwest, Plains, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic U.S., Apr. 10-14, $3.45 billion, 38 killed;
16. Flooding, France and Italy, Oct. 2-4, $3.2 billion, 16 killed;
17. Wildfire (LNU Complex Fire), California (U.S.), Aug. 17-Sep. 16, $3.0 billion, five killed;
18. Drought, Brazil, Jan. 1-Nov. 30, $3.0 billion, zero killed;
19. Severe weather, Midwest, Plains, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic U.S., Apr. 6-9, $3.0 billion, zero killed;
20. Severe weather, Central and Eastern U.S., Mar. 27-30, $2.9 billion, zero killed;
21. Windstorm Ciara, Western & Central Europe, Feb. 9-10, $2.7 billion, 14 killed;
22. Drought, northern and western China, Jan.-Aug., $2.4 billion, zero killed;
23. Severe weather/Nashville tornado, Central and Eastern U.S., Mar. 2-5, $2.4 billion, 25 killed;
24. Severe weather, Plains, Southeast, and Midwest U.S., May 16-21, $2.1 billion, one killed;
25. Severe weather, Rockies, Plains, and Midwest U.S., May 20-24, $1.8 billion, two killed;
26. Wildfire (Beachie Creek Fire), Oregon (U.S.), Aug. 16-Oct. 5, $1.6 billion, four killed;
27. Severe weather, Australia, Jan. 18-20, $1.6 billion, zero killed;
28. Flooding, Pakistan, Jun.-Sep., $1.5 billion, 410 killed;
29. Typhoon Hagupit, China and Taiwan, Aug. 3-4, $1.5 billion, one killed;
30. Severe weather, Central and Eastern U.S., Feb. 3-8, $1.5 billion, five killed;
31. Severe weather, Plains, Southeast, and Midwest U.S., May 4-5, $1.5 billion, zero killed;
32. Severe weather, Texas, May 27-28, $1.45 billion, zero killed;
33. Severe weather, Plains, Southeast, and mid-Atlantic U.S., Apr. 21-24, $1.45 billion, seven killed;
34. Severe weather, Canada, Jun. 13-14, $1.4 billion, zero killed;
35. Hurricane Iota, Central America, Nov. 14-19, $1.3 billion, 61 killed;
36. Severe weather, Rockies, Midwest, Plains, Southeast U.S., Jul. 10-12, $1.3 billion, zero killed;
37. Severe weather, Central and Eastern U.S., Jan. 10-12, $1.28 billion, 12 killed;
38. Flooding, Iran, Feb. 24–Apr. 30, $1.2 billion, 23 killed;
39. Severe weather, Midwest, Plains, and Southeast U.S., Apr. 27-30, $1.05 billion, zero killed;
40. Severe weather, Australia, Feb. 2-11, $1.0 billion, zero killed;
41. Wildfire (North Complex Fire), California (U.S.), Aug. 18-Oct. 1, $1.0 billion, 15 killed;
42. Drought, U.S., Jan.-Sep., $1.0 billion, zero killed;
43. Typhoon Goni, Philippines, Nov. 1, $1.0 billion, 25 killed; and
44. Typhoon Vamco, Philippines, Vietnam, Nov. 11-16, $1.0 billion, 102 killed.
A moderate La Niña event continues
La Niña conditions remained in the moderate range during November, prompting NOAA to continue its La Niña advisory in a December 10 monthly discussion of the state of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation, or ENSO.
Over the past month, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the benchmark Niño 3.4 region of the eastern tropical Pacific (5°N-5°S, 170°W-120°W) have been 1.0 to1.3 degrees Celsius below average. The threshold for “strong” La Niña conditions is 1.5 degrees Celsius below average; “moderate” La Niña conditions are 1.0-1.5 degrees below average.
Forecasters at NOAA and at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society expect La Niña conditions will continue through the winter (95% chance during January-February-March), and potentially transition to “neutral” during the spring (50% chance during April-May-June). They predict that La Niña will peak during the November-December-January period as a “moderate” event. About half of all La Niña events continue into a second year, but fewer than 20% of the ENSO models predicted that La Niña conditions would last into the summer of 2021.
Arctic sea ice: Second lowest November extent on record
Arctic sea ice extent during November 2020 was the second lowest in the 42-year satellite record, behind only 2016, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Record to near-record low sea ice extent along the Siberian coast of Russia led to temperatures that averaged nearly 4-6 degrees Celsius (7-11°F) above average in that portion of the Arctic during November.
The annual Arctic Report Card, which was issued by NOAA on December 8, has a detailed look at the period October 2019-September 2020 in the Arctic, which was its second-warmest such span on record, with the second-lowest minimum sea ice extent. Bob Henson has a detailed post on that report.
Antarctic sea ice extent in November 2020 was well above average, continuing a shift that had begun in August.
Notable global heat and cold marks for November 2020
– Hottest temperature in the Northern Hemisphere: 44.8°C (112.6°F) at San Francisco and Tubares, Mexico, November 5;
– Coldest temperature in the Northern Hemisphere: -56.9°C (-70.4°F) at Summit, Greenland, November 15;
– Hottest temperature in the Southern Hemisphere: 48.0°C (118.4°F) at Andamooka, Australia, November 28;
– Coldest temperature in the Southern Hemisphere: -60.0°C (-76°F) at Dome Fuji, Antarctica, November 2 and 5;
– Highest 2020 average temperature to date (Jan. 1-November 30) worldwide: 31.8°C (89.2°F) at Yelimane, Mali, and Matam, Senegal; and
– Highest 2020 average temperature to date (Jan. 1-November 30) in the Southern Hemisphere: 29.9°C (85.8°F) at Surabaya Airport, Indonesia.
(Courtesy of Maximiliano Herrera)
Major weather stations’ new all-time heat or cold records in November 2020
Among global stations with a record of at least 40 years, these set, not just tied, a new all-time heat record in November. No stations set all-time cold records:
Rurrenabaque (Bolivia) max. 41.3°C, November 8;
Sabu Island (Indonesia) max. 36.8°C, November 12; and
San Ramon (Bolivia) max. 40.2°C, November 24.
11 all-time national/territorial heat records set or tied in 2020
As of December 14, 2020, 11 nations or territories had set or tied an all-time national heat record:
Colombia: 42.6°C (108.7°F) at Jerusalen, February 19 (tie);
Ghana: 44.0°C (111.2°F) at Navrongo, April 6;
Cuba: 39.2°C (102.6°F) at Palo Seco, April 10; broken again April 11 with 39.3°C (102.7°F) at Veguitas, and again on April 12 with 39.7°C (103.5°F) at Veguitas;
Mayotte, France department: 36.4°C (97.5°F) at Trevani, April 14;
Taiwan: 40.5°C (104.9°F) at Taimali Research Center, July 16;
Lebanon: 45.4°C (113.7°F) at Houche Al Oumara, July 27;
United States: 54.4°C (129.9°F) at Death Valley, California, August 16;
Japan: 41.1°C (106.0°F) at Hamamatsu, August 17;
Dominica: 35.7°C (96.3°F) at Canefield Airport, September 15;
Puerto Rico (U.S. territory): 37.8°C (100.0°F ) at Aguirre, September 17; and
Paraguay: 45.5°C (113.9°F ) at Pozo Hondo, September 26.
No all-time national/territorial cold records have been set thus far in 2020.
(Courtesy of Maximiliano Herrera)
123 additional monthly national/territorial heat records beaten or tied so far
In addition to the 11 all-time national heat records, 123 other national monthly heat records have been set so far in 2020, for a total of 134 national monthly heat records:
– January (13): Norway, South Korea, Angola, Congo Brazzaville, Dominica, Mexico, Indonesia, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Cuba, British Indian Ocean Territory, Singapore;
– February (12): Spain, Antarctica, Azerbaijan, Costa Rica, The Bahamas, Switzerland, Maldives, Gambia, Russia, Seychelles, Dominican Republic, U.S. Virgin Islands;
– March (7): Paraguay, Cabo Verde, Mozambique, Seychelles, United States, Thailand, Northern Mariana Islands;
– April (14): Paraguay, Niger, St. Barthelemy, Honduras, Guernsey, Haiti, Congo Brazzaville, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, China, Saba, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic;
– May (10): Niger, Greece, Saba, Cyprus, Solomon Islands, Turkey, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Chile, Uzbekistan;
– June (6): Maldives, Thailand, U.S. Virgin Islands, Saba, Kenya, Ghana;
– July (7): Mozambique, U.S. Virgin Islands, Laos, Myanmar, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Northern Mariana Islands;
– August (6): Solomon Islands, Mexico, Australia, Cocos Islands, Paraguay, U.S. Virgin Islands;
– September (18): Laos, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, Mexico, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Botswana, St. Barthelemy, Mayotte, Argentina, Brazil, British Indian Ocean Territory;
– October (11): Algeria, Brazil, Tunisia, Turkey, Cyprus, Jordan, Peru, Myanmar, Northern Marianas Islands, Botswana, Maldives;
– November (11): Luxembourg, Finland, Nepal, Mexico, Aland Islands, Sweden, Maldives, Northern Marianas, Taiwan, Swaziland, Sudan; and
– December (8): Mexico, Ghana, Pakistan, Algeria, Qatar, Maldives, Niger, Taiwan.
One monthly national/territorial cold record beaten or tied in 2020
– April: St. Eustatius.
An October monthly record reported in Aruba was judged to be unreliable.
(Courtesy of Maximiliano Herrera)
Hemispherical and continental temperature records in 2020
– Highest minimum temperature ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere in January: 29.1°C (84.4°F) at Bonriki, Kiribati, January 17;
– Highest maximum temperature ever recorded in North America in January: 42.0°C (107.6°F) at Vicente Guerrero, Mexico, January 21;
– Highest temperature ever recorded in continental Antarctica and highest February temperature ever recorded in Antarctica plus the surrounding islands: 18.4°C (65.1°F) at Base Esperanza, February 6;
– Highest minimum temperature ever recorded in February in Antarctica: 7.6°C (45.7°F) at Base Marambio, February 9;
– Highest minimum temperature ever recorded in February in the Northern Hemisphere: 32.0°C (89.6°F) at Yelimane, Mali, February 23;
– Highest minimum temperature ever recorded in April in the Southern Hemisphere: 31.1°C (88.0°F) at Argyle, Australia, April 2;
– Highest minimum temperature ever recorded in May in Europe: 30.1°C (86.2°F) at Emponas, Greece, May 17;
– Highest minimum temperature ever recorded in May in North America: 35.0°C (95.0°F) at Death Valley, California (U.S.), May 28;
– Highest temperature ever recorded in the polar regions: 38.0°C (100.4°F) at Verkhoyansk, Russia, June 20;
– Highest reliable temperature ever recorded on Earth: 54.4°C (129.9°F) at Death Valley, California, August 16;
– Highest reliable minimum temperature ever recorded in August in North America: 40.0°C (104.0°F) at Death Valley, California (U.S.), August 17;
– Highest temperature ever recorded in Australia and Oceana in August: 40.7°C (105.3°F) at Yampi Sound, Australia, August 22; beaten again with 41.2°C (106.2°F) at West Roebuck, Australia, on August 23; and
– Highest temperature ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere in November: 44.8°C (112.6°F) at San Francisco and Tubares, Mexico, November 5.
(Courtesy of Maximiliano Herrera. Note that Mr. Herrera is now on Twitter. See his remarkable statistics on his Extreme Temperatures Around The World Twitter handle.)
Posted on December 14, 2020(2:51pm EST).