Summer 2020: One for the Record Books
Record heat waves, raging wildfires, and an active hurricane season, all intensified by human-induced climate change, dominated this summer’s headlines even in the midst of a chaotic news cycle. However, the excessive heat made summer 2020 one for the record book as the fourth-hottest summer in the contiguous U.S.
Summer 2020 was one of the top 10 hottest summers for 37% (452) of 1203 cities analyzed and 55 cities across the U.S. had their hottest summer on record. Furthermore, from January to August 2020, local record highs outpaced record lows in most places—a hallmark of climate change as global temperatures increase.
Excessive heat is the leading weather-related killer in the U.S., and disproportionately threatens vulnerable populations, particularly black and immigrant communities in urban areas where there is low tree coverage. To reduce heat risk in these neighborhoods, city planners are implementing cooling solutions, like planting trees, designing green roofs, and creating more accessible cooling stations.