Oct 15, 2020 - Science

Scientists see hottest September on record

California fires.

The Bidwell Bar Bridge surrounded by fire during the Bear fire in Oroville, California in September. Photo: JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images

This September was the hottest recorded on Earth since 1880, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's another indicator of the impact of human-induced climate change. The data also illustrate this year is on pace to be among the hottest recorded, with the possibility of tying or breaking the record, set in 2016.

By the numbers: The average global temperature in September was 1.75 degrees above the 20th-century average of 59°F. It was 0.04 of a degree hotter than the previous records for the month, set in 2015 and 2016.

  • The 10 hottest Septembers have all happened after 2005, with the seven warmest occurring consecutively over the past seven years, the NOAA noted.

Zoom out: The year-to-date average global temperature was the second-hottest ever recorded at 1.84°F (1.02°C) above the 20th-century average. It was just 0.07°F (0.04°C) from the record-setting YTD in 2016.

  • In the U.S. alone, September saw massive wildfires and record heat in the western region of the country.

Go deeper: Why climate change is a time bomb

Go deeper