Environment & Climate

2020 was the second-warmest year on record.

The average global temperature was 0.98 °C (1.76 °F) above the 20th century average. It was also 0.02 °C (0.04 °F) below 2016, the warmest year on record.

Environment & Climate

All states, and especially in the Northeast, have become warmer over the past century.

Between 1895 and 2019, the average temperature in half of US counties rose more than 2.7°F (1.5°C), a key threshold of climate warming identified by NASA.

Environment & Climate

Average rainfall is 5% higher at the beginning of the 21st century than it was at the beginning of the 20th century.

Environment & Climate

States in the Northeast and along the Mississippi River are getting more precipitation.

Others are becoming drier, with California experiencing the greatest drop in average annual precipitation over the past century.

Environment & Climate

In 1980, the average US county had good air quality 59% of days. In 2020, that rose to 88% of days.

Adjusting for population change, Hawaii had the largest air quality decrease per square mile between 1980 and 2020, partly due to volcanic air pollution. California had the largest improvement.

The EPA defines air as “good” when it has an air quality index (AQI) value between 0 and 50. The AQI is based on the concentration of five criteria pollutants including carbon monoxide and particulate matter.

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