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Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

2020 was the second-hottest year on record, according to an analysis by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists.

Why it matters: It's the second year in a row the Earth has experienced near-record heat, offering more evidence of the effects of global warming at the beginning of what could be a critical year for climate policy in the U.S. and around the globe, writes Axios Ben Geman.

By the numbers: Land and ocean surface temperatures were recorded at an average of 1.76°F (0.98°C) above the 20th-century average — and just 0.04°F (0.02°C) cooler than in 2016, which was the hottest year on record.

  • It was the hottest year ever recorded for the Northern Hemisphere, which saw temperatures at 2.3°F (1.28°C) above the 20th-century average.
  • The new numbers knock 2019 down to the third-hottest year on-record. That year, the average temperature was 1.71°F (0.95°C) above the 20th-century average.

The big picture: The NOAA analysis comes one week after a study by the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service ranked 2020 as tied with 2016 for the hottest year on record.

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2021 - Podcasts

Climate priorities of 2021

Yesterday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced 2020 was the second-hottest year on the planet. Though it hasn't reached the record-breaking temperatures of 2016, it likely was very close.

  • Plus, just how many voters continue to back President Trump.
  • And, a therapist helps us process our collective grief.
Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.