August 2020 will go down as the fourth-warmest on record worldwide, with above average summertime heat in the U.S. and Mexico tempered slightly by below average temperatures in parts of the Southern Hemisphere.
Global temperatures for the month spiked around 0.9 degrees Celsius above the historical average, according to a new report by Europe's Copernicus Climate Change Service. That reading came in lower than the summers of 2018 and 2019, the agency said in a statement.
Still, high temperatures recorded over the past few months have put 2020 on track to become the second-hottest or possibly the hottest year on record. Record-breaking highs have been registered around the world, including an Aug. 17 reading of 129.9 Fahrenheit in Death Valley, California, which could be the highest temperature recorded.
Heatwaves brought higher-than-average temperatures to western and central Europe in August, while the number of days with heat stress falling in the "very strong" category was similar to last summer. Northwestern Siberia and much of the Arctic Ocean also experienced above average heat.
Extreme heat has fueled the worst wildfire season in the Arctic, and that makes 2020 the second consecutive year to set a new record. California is seeing widespread wildfire activity, with the second- and third-worst fires in the state's history recorded this year.