January Global Temperature Change*

January Rankings:  1880 - 2020 Temperature Record
Comparisons with 20th Century Global Average Surface Temperature
(Temperatures are not compared here with a pre-industrial baseline)

Rank

Year

Change in
Temperature*

Warmest January
2020
+1.14°C   +2.05°F
Coolest January
1893
-0.72°C   -1.30°F
    Data retrieved:
February 16, 2020

*Surface temperature changes relative to 20th Century global average (1901 - 2000)
Source data  NOAA-NCEI State of the Climate: Global Analysis  [Web + data download]

"The global land and ocean surface temperature for January 2020 was the highest in the 141-year record, with a temperature departure from average of 1.14°C (2.05°F) above the 20th century average. This value was only 0.02°C (0.04°F) higher than the now second highest January temperature departure from average set in 2016. The four warmest Januaries on record have occurred since 2016, while the 10 warmest Januaries have occurred since 2002. The only Januaries with a global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average above 1.0°C (1.8°F) occurred in 2016 and 2019.

The January global land and surface temperature departure was also the fourth highest monthly temperature departure in the 1681-month record. Only March 2016, February 2016, and December 2015 had a greater temperature departure; all months that had a strong warm phase El Niño / Southern Oscillation (ENSO) present in the tropical Pacific Ocean. ENSO, which is a periodic fluctuation in sea surface temperature and air pressure of the overlying atmosphere across the tropical Pacific Ocean, can influence global temperatures. A warm phase ENSO, also known as El Niño, tends to have a warming influence on global temperatures, while the cold phase (La Niña) tends to have a cooling influence.

However, the January 2020 global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average was the highest for any month during ENSO neutral conditions, meaning El Niño or La Niña was not present in the tropical Pacific Ocean. March 2017 (+1.08°C / +1.94°F), December 2019 (+1.05°C / +1.89°F), and February 2017 (+1.02°C / +1.84°F) were the other months where the global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average was above 1.0°C (1.8°F) during ENSO neutral conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean."

[NOAA/NCEI global analysis accessed February 16, 2020]

 

"The science is sobering—the global temperature in 2012 was among the hottest since records began in 1880. Make no mistake: without concerted action, the very future of our planet is in peril."

~ Christine Lagarde, in 2012
Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
[video][text]

 

NOAA/NCEI annual global analysis for 2018: 

The 2017 average global temperature across land and ocean surface areas was 0.84°C (1.51°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F), behind the record year 2016 (+0.94°C / +1.69°F) and 2015 (+0.90°C / +1.62°F; second warmest year on record) both influenced by a strong El Niño episode. The year 2017 is also the warmest year without an El Niño present in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

2017 also marks the 41st consecutive year (since 1977) with global land and ocean temperatures at least nominally above the 20th century average, with the six warmest years on record occurring since 2010. Since the start of the 21st century, the global temperature has been broken five times, three of those being set back to back (2014–2016). The yearly global land and ocean temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.07°C (0.13°F) per decade since 1880; however, the average rate of increase is twice as great since 1980. From 1900 to 1980 a new temperature record was set on average every 13.5 years; however, since 1981 it has increased to every 3 years.

Overall, the global annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.07°C (0.13°F) per decade since 1880 and at an average rate of 0.17°C (0.31°F) per decade since 1970."

[NOAA/NCEI global analysis for 2018 accessed February 18, 2019].

 

"Globally-averaged temperatures in 2015 shattered the previous mark set in 2014 by 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit (0.13 Celsius). Only once before, in 1998, has the new record been greater than the old record by this much."

~ NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies [NASA post of January 20, 2016]

 

Before the end of 2015, scientists projected that average global temperature increase for 2015 will exceed 1°C above pre-industrial levels.  The years 1850-1900 are used as the pre-industrial baseline by the MET Office and Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the UK.  The MET Office released this statement in November 2015:

 

"This year marks an important first but that doesn't necessarily mean every year from now on will be a degree or more above pre-industrial levels, as natural variability will still play a role in determining the temperature in any given year.  As the world continues to warm in the coming decades, however, we will see more and more years passing the 1 degree marker - eventually it will become the norm."

~ Peter Stott
Head of Climate Monitoring and Attribution (MET Office)

 

>> Read More

 

 

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