If the climate records of late 2016 were any indication, January 2017’s balmy global temperatures will come as no shock.
January’s average global temperature was 1.58 degrees F above the 20th century average of 53.6 degrees, according to the analysis by scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. This was the third highest for January in the 1880-2017 record, behind 2016 (highest) and 2007 (second highest).
- The January globally averaged land surface temperature was 2.77°F above the 20th century average of 37.0°F. This value was also the third highest January land global temperature in the 1880–2017 record, behind 2007 (highest) and 2016 (second highest).
- The January globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.17°F above the 20th century monthly average of 60.5°F—the second highest global ocean temperature for January in the 1880–2017 record behind 2016.
- According to data from NOAA analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during January was 890,000 square miles above the 1981–2010 average. This was the sixth largest January Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent in the 51-year period of record. The North American snow cover extent was the 13th largest on record, while the Eurasian snow cover extent was the seventh largest.
More noteworthy findings for January included:
Record-low sea ice extent at the poles
- The average Arctic sea ice extent was 8.6 percent below the 1981-2010 average for January, and the average Antarctic sea ice extent was 22.8 percent below the 1981-2010 average. For both regions this was the smallest January sea ice extent since the satellite record began in 1979.
Above-average snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere
- The Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent was the sixth largest in the 51-year period of record. North America had its 13th largest and Eurasia had its seventh largest.
Warmer-than-average lands and oceans
- The globally averaged sea surface temperature was the second highest January on record, 1.17 degree F above average.
- The globally averaged land surface temperature was the third highest January on record, 2.77 degrees F above average.
Continents experienced temperature highs and lows
- North America had its fourth warmest January on record; South America had its second; Asia tied as sixth; Oceania had its 13th; and Africa had its 21st. Cooler-than-average conditions engulfed much of Europe in January, which had its coldest winter since 2010.
More: You can find NOAA’s report and download related maps and images by visiting the NCEI website.