January 2022 was Earth’s 6th warmest on record

Antarctic sea ice shrank to near-record low

A collage of typical climate and weather-related events: floods, heatwaves, drought, hurricanes, wildfires and loss of glacial ice.
A collage of typical climate and weather-related events: floods, heatwaves, drought, hurricanes, wildfires and loss of glacial ice. (NOAA)

The planet rang in 2022 with a remarkably warm January, ranking as the sixth-warmest January in 143 years of climate records.

Antarctic sea ice coverage — also referred to as sea ice extent —  was near a record low for the month, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

Here’s more from NOAA’s latest monthly global climate report:

Climate by the numbers

January 2022

The January global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.60 degrees F (0.89 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average, making it the sixth-warmest January in the 143-year climate record.

Last month was also the 46th consecutive January and the 445th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th-century average.

South America saw its second-warmest January on record, behind January 2016. Asia had its fourth-warmest January on record, while Oceania’s temperature departure tied with 2001 as the seventh highest. Despite North America and Africa’s above-average January temperatures, they had their coldest January since 2009 and 2015, respectively.

A map of the world plotted with some of the most significant climate events that occurred during January 2022.
A map of the world plotted with some of the most significant climate events that occurred during January 2022. Please see the story below as well as more details in the report summary from NOAA NCEI at https://bit.ly/Global202201 offsite link. (NOAA NCEI)

Other notable climate events from January 2022

  • Polar sea ice coverage was low. Antarctic sea ice coverage for the month was 440,000 square miles below average — the second smallest January sea ice extent in the 44-year record. Only January 2017 had a smaller sea ice extent. Arctic sea ice extent for the month was 208,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 average, though it was the largest January extent since 2009.
  • Snow cover was about average. The Northern Hemisphere’s snow cover during January was slightly above the 1981-2010 average, at 18.26 million square miles. This was the largest January snow cover since 2017.
  • Tropical activity was near average. In January, six tropical storms formed around the world, which is typical for the month. The Northern Hemisphere had no tropical cyclones, which is also typical for January. Meanwhile, the Southern Hemisphere’s strongest cyclone of January 2022 — Major Cyclone Batsirai — developed in late January and made landfall in Madagascar in early February.

More > Access NOAA’s latest climate report and download the images.

 

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