2020 in records: K-pop and the planet get super hot

Paris (AFP) –


Records tumbled across the board in 2020, from the warming planet to the humble rowing machine.

- Hot... -

Meteorologists recorded a temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius) in California's Death Valley in August -- likely the hottest ever measured with modern instruments.

- Hot... -

Antarctica, home to enough frozen water to lift global sea levels dozens of metres, smashed its temperature record too with a high of 20.75 degrees Celsius (69.35 Farenheit) -- the first time the continent has broken the 20C barrier.

- Hot... -

Average global temperatures in January, April, May, September and November were the hottest ever on record.

- Priciest pigeon -

A Chinese buyer paid a world record 1.6 million euros ($1.9 million) for a Dutch female homing pigeon called New Kim who was put up for auction for just 200 euros.

- Longest lockdowns -

Half of the planet was locked down in March, just three months after the virus was detected.

But the prize for the longest lockdown goes to Buenos Aires where residents were officially confined from March 20 until November 8 -- 234 days.

- Foreign language first -

Trailblazing South Korean boyband BTS became the first group to have a foreign-language song enter the US Billboard chart at number one, in the latest musical record claimed by the K-pop sensation.

- Craziest climb -

A 53-year-old British man climbed (and descended) the equivalent of the height of Mount Everest, 8,850 vertical metres, over the course of four days using the stairs in his home to raise money for charity.

- Most F1 wins -

In October British driver Lewis Hamilton overtook Michael Schumacher with a record-breaking 92nd Formula One victory in the Portuguese Grand Prix.

- Accidental achievement -

The aptly-named Australian Georgie Rowe broke a world record for indoor rowing while she was training at home during lockdown.

- Germany's blackest day -

In what Germany coach Joachim Loew said was a "black day", Spain beat the four-time World Cup champions 6-0 in the Nations League, handing them their worst defeat in 89 years.

- Deepest dive -

Slovenian Alenka Artnik, 39, broke the world freediving record after a dizzying descent to 114 metres with a monofin, spending three minutes and 41 seconds underwater.

- Ugandan track master -

Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei broke the 10,000m track world record in October with a time of 26 mins 11 seconds. In August, he had shattered the much-vaunted 5,000m world record that had stood for 16 years.