2020 was supposed to be cooler — it could be hottest on record

Visitors in front of an unofficial thermometer at Death Valley.
Visitors gather for a photo in front of an unofficial thermometer at Furnace Creek Visitor Center on Aug. 17 in Death Valley National Park, Calif.
Mario Tama | Getty Images

Just how far out of balance is earth’s climate system? This year will end as the first or second warmest year on record globally. It continues an unprecedented run of record heat — seven years and counting — dating back to 1880.

“That’s particularly surprising given that we have a La Niña event in the tropical Pacific. That tends to cool global temperatures a bit,” said Penn State University professor Michael Mann. “It’s way out of balance.”

Mann joined MPR New chief meteorologist and Climate cast host Paul Huttner. Hear their conversation using the audio player above, or subscribe to the Climate Cast podcast.

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