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January 2016 warmest on record: NOAA

According to the latest report released by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), January, 2016, is the warmest since record keeping began in 1880. January month’s record continues a nine-month streak of record high monthly temperatures.

Important findings:

  1. The average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces in January was 1.04 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average.
  2. This figure was the highest for January in the past 136 years, surpassing the previous record of 2007 by 0.16 degree Celsius.
  3. The global land surface temperature was 1.56 degrees Celsius above average, the second highest on record for January, behind only 2007.
  4. For the oceans, the globally-averaged temperature was 0.86 degree Celsius above the 20th century average. This was the highest on record for January, surpassing the previous record of 2010 by 0.25 degree Celsius.
  5. More than average temperature was recorded in northern Siberia, southeastern Asia, southwestern Asia and the Middle East, most of southern Africa, and areas of Central and South Americas.
  6. The average Arctic sea ice extent for January was 7.14 percent below the 1981-2010 average, which was the smallest January extent since records began in 1979, breaking the previous smallest record of 2011.
  7. Antarctic sea ice area during January was below the 1981-2010 average, making it the 17th smallest Antarctic sea ice extent in the 38-year period of record or the smallest since 2011.

Cause of the January High:

  1. NOAA researchers attributed the heat partly to a strong El Nino that evolved in 2015 and released warmth from the Pacific Ocean.
  2. Average Sea Surface Temperature (SST) has increased, reducing its ability of “Heat Sink”


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