13 February 2020

NOAA: January 2020 Hottest on Record- 3rd Highest for Any Month

Posted by Dan Satterfield

NOAA announced the January global temperature numbers and just like the European (Copernicus) record they rated it as the hottest January on record. It is also noteworthy that the Argentine Antarctic station recorded the hottest temperature ever measured on the continent as well last week.

NOAA’s statement is below:

Monthly Temperature:

January 2020The 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.

Global Land and Ocean Temperature Anomalies for January

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.

The global land-only surface temperature departure of +2.12°C (+3.82°F) was the highest on record for January, besting the previous record set in 2007 by 0.15°C (0.27°F). This was also the third highest global land surface temperature for any month in the 1,681-montlhy record.