According to scientists at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, in the span of 141 years of climate data, there has never been a warmer January then last January.
The previous record was set in 2016.
The January 2020 worldwide land and sea surface temperature were 2.05 degrees Fahrenheit over the twentieth century typical of 53.6 degrees, NOAA said. The most sweltering January after the second-most blazing year on record "is one of those signs that things are warming drastically", said University of IL atmosphere researcher Don Wuebbles.
For a more complete summary of climate conditions and events, see NOAA's January 2020 Global Climate Report.
Of the 1,681 months of the climate record, only March 2016, February 2016, and December 2015 each had a greater temperature from average than January 2020.El Niño, characteristic warming of Pacific Ocean water temperatures, likewise will, in general, produce hotter global temperatures. This January, average temperatures soared some 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) over central parts of North Siberia, Northeastern Europe, and Northeast Canada. The Northeast U.S. had well above temperatures. The 10 warmest January recorded have happened since 2002, the agency said. The past five years have been the warmest of the last 140 years.
While global temperatures increased in January, the weather in a particular region may not have correlated.
Breaking the month down by hemispheres, the Northern Hemisphere also had its warmest January on record, at 2.70 degrees F (1.50 degrees C) above average.
This NOAA map illustrates the deviation of the average temperatures in January 2020.
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