January 2016: Warmest January on Record for Planet Earth

Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with January 2016 marking the warmest January ever recorded for the entire planet.

According to the State of the Climate report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 55.47°F, which is a whopping 1.87°F above the 20th century average. It surpassed the previous record set in January 2007 by 0.29°F. It also marked the second highest departure from average for any month on record, trailing only December 2015 which was 2°F above its long-term norm.

Continuing the trend from 2015 – the warmest year ever recorded – January 2016 was the ninth consecutive month to set a monthly temperature record. It was also the fourteenth consecutive month that the global temperature ranked in the top three for its respective month.

This record warmth, scientists say, was fueled by a combination of continued global warming and El Niño.  Not to discount the strong influence El Niño has on the climate, it should be noted that no other El Niño year has produced temperature anomalies as large as the ones seen recently.

Global temperature records date back to 1880.

Credit: NOAA

Credit: NOAA