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April 2020 was Earth’s 2nd hottest April on record

May 13, 2020
A collage of typical climate and weather-related events: heatwaves, drought, hurricanes, wildfires and changes in sea ice coverage.

April became the third month in a row to rank second-hottest on record for the globe after the year kicked off with the hottest January ever recorded in 141 years of record-keeping, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

It was also the second-warmest year to date (January through April), as Arctic sea ice continued its retreat. 

Below are highlights from NOAA’s latest monthly global climate report:

Climate by the numbers

April 2020

The average global temperature in April was 1.91 degrees F (1.06 degrees C) above the 20th-century average, making April 2020 the second-hottest behind April 2016. 

The eight warmest Aprils have all occurred since 2010, and April 2020 marked the 44th consecutive April above the 20th-century average.

Year to date | January through April

The global temperature from January through April was 2.05 degrees F (1.14 degrees C) above average, which is the second-hottest January-through-April period on record behind 2016. 

Europe and Asia had their warmest year to date on record, while the Caribbean region and South America had their second warmest. No land or ocean areas had record-cold temperatures.

A map of the world noting some of the most significant weather and climate events that occurred during April 2020. For more details, see the bullets below in this story and at http://bit.ly/Global202004.
A map of the world noting some of the most significant weather and climate events that occurred during April 2020. For more details, see the bullets below in this story and at http://bit.ly/Global202004.

More notable climate events in the April report

  • Ocean temperatures were historically hot: The global ocean surface temperature during April 2020 was 1.49 degrees F (0.83 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average. It was the highest April ocean temperature since global records began in 1880. 

  • Arctic sea ice was down substantially: Sea ice coverage for April 2020 was 6.5% below the 1981–2010 average and the fourth-smallest April extent on record for the Arctic.

Read NOAA’s latest climate report, and download the images.

Media contact 

John Bateman, (301) 713-9604