National Center For Atmospheric Research 2020 May Be The Hottest Year On Record. Here's The Damage It Did By Rebecca Hersher & Lauren Sommer • Dec 18, 2020 With just a few weeks left, 2020 is in a dead-heat tie for the hottest year on record. But whether it claims the top spot misses the point, climate scientists say. There is no shortage of disquieting statistics about what is happening to the Earth. Record Heat In The Gulf Fueled Hurricane Harvey's Deluge By Christopher Joyce • May 10, 2018 Hurricane Harvey, which devastated South Texas last August, was powered by what scientists say were the highest ocean temperatures they've ever seen in the Gulf of Mexico.