Energy & Environment

NOAA says January was the hottest in recorded history

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Last month was the hottest January on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced on Thursday.

January’s global land and ocean surface temperatures were 2.05 degrees Fahrenheit higher the 20th century average, officials said, adding that temperatures last month broke a record set in January 2016 by 0.04 degrees.

NOAA said the Northern Hemisphere broke its January record with temperatures of 2.7 degrees above average, while the Southern Hemisphere had temperatures 1.4 degrees above average. Those temperatures were the second-warmest for January, behind 2016.

The agency reported record-warm temperatures across diverse regions, including Scandinavia, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the central and western Pacific, the Atlantic and Central and South America. Record-cold January temperatures were not recorded in any land or ocean areas.

NOAA noted that temperatures topped 20th century averages in January for the 44th consecutive time. Last month was also the 421st consecutive month to top the 20th century average. 

The agency also found snow coverage in the Northern Hemisphere significantly below the 1981–2010 average, with the 18th-smallest January snow cover in the 54-year period in which records have been kept. Arctic sea ice coverage was 5.3 percent below the 1981–2010 average, tying with 2014 as the eighth-smallest January Arctic sea ice coverage in 42 years.

Antarctic sea ice, meanwhile, was 9.8 percent below average, tied with 2011 for 10th-smallest.


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