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January was 5th warmest on record for the globe

Arctic and Antarctic sea ice coverage remain at record, near-record lows
February 20, 2018
A collage of typical climate and weather-related events: heatwaves, drought, hurricanes, wildfires and changes in sea ice coverage.

Despite the cooling influence of La Nina this winter, the global temperature ranked among the five warmest on record in January. Earth’s polar regions continued to experience record-low ice conditions.  

Let’s dive deeper into NOAA’s monthly analysis to see how the planet fared in the first month of the year:

Climate by the numbers

January 2018
The average global temperature in January 2018 was 1.28 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 53.6 degrees, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. This average temperature was the fifth highest for the month of January in the NOAA’s record, which dates back to 1880. This was the 42nd consecutive January (since 1977) and the 397th consecutive month (since January 1985) with temperatures above the 20th-century average. The last four years (2015-2018) saw the five warmest Januarys on record.

An annotated map of the globe showing notable climate events that occurred in January 2018. For details, see bulleted list below in our story and also visit the NCEI report webpage at http://bit.ly/Global201801.
An annotated map of the globe showing notable climate events that occurred in January 2018. For details, see bulleted list below in our story and also visit the NCEI report webpage at http://bit.ly/Global201801. (NOAA NCEI)

Other notable climate facts from around the world last month included:

Near-record-low sea ice at the poles

  • The average Arctic sea ice coverage in January was 9.4 percent below the 1981-2010 average, the smallest for the month since records began in 1979.

  • Antarctic sea ice extent in January was 17.4 percent below average, the second smallest January on record.

Warmer-than-average lands and oceans

  • The globally averaged land-surface temperature was 2 degrees F above the 20th-century average, ranking as the eighth warmest for the month of January.  

  • The globally averaged sea-surface temperature was 1.01 degrees F above average and tied with 1998 as the fifth warmest for January on record.  

Oceania and Europe led the continental warmth rankings

  • Oceania has its warmest January on record; Europe, its second; South America, its 14th; Africa, its 21st; North America, its 24th; and Asia, its 26th (tied with 1997).

 

More:  Find NOAA’s Global January climate report and download related maps and images by visiting the NCEI website.

 

 

Media contact

Brady Phillips, 202-407-1298