February 18, 2016 3:59 pm
Updated: February 18, 2016 5:15 pm

Earth experienced its warmest January on record

This illustration details the temperature anomalies across the globe in January 2016.


Another month, another record breaker.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its monthly state of the climate report for January which found that it was the warmest January since records began 137 years ago. It was the ninth consecutive warmest month on record.

The globally averaged temperature for the month was 1.04 C above the 20th century average of 12.0 C. This broke the previous record for January by 0.16 C, set in 2007.

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The temperature was also the second-highest of any month, with the previous record being December 2015 when the temperature was 1.11 C above average. Another record was broken as well: Arctic sea ice reached its lowest point for the month.

The driving force for both the December and January records lies in the fact that we are currently experiencing one of the strongest El Niño events in history. However, when NOAA and NASA released its climate report on 2015, it noted that the weather phenomenon, which influences weather patterns around the globe, wasn’t entirely responsible.

READ MORE: El Nino: What it is and why it matters

“Even without El Niño, this would have been the warmest year on record,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “And that’s mainly due to the increase in the burning of fossil fuels and the carbon dioxide that goes with it.”


Countries around the world experienced various temperature anomalies. NOAA noted that in Canada, Ontario was warmer than normal at the start of the year: in northern Ontario and the northern territories temperatures were 2 to 5 C higher than the 1961–1990 average.

Australia, Germany and Austria were all also warmer than average.

However, that’s not to say that temperatures were warm across the globe. In some parts of the world, including Finland, Argentina, Uruguay and southern Brazil, temperatures were cooler than normal.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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