Thursday 8 February 2024

The hottest January on Record.

January 2024 was the hottest January on record, according to the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service, with average global surface air temperatures reaching 13.14°. This exceeds the previous hottest January ever recorded, 2020, by 0.12°C, and the average for the period 1991-2000 by 0.70°C, as well as the (calculated) average for the period 1850-1900 by 1.66°C. This is the eight consecutive calender month to have been the hottest example of that particular calender month on record, starting from June 2023 (July 2023 was also the hottest month ever recorded).

Surface air temperature anomaly for January 2023 relative to the January average for the period 1991-2020. Copernicus Climate Change Service.

The average global sea surface temperature between 60°S and 60°N reached 20.97°C, making it the hottest January ever recorded in terms of sea surface temperatures, exceeding the previous record, set in January 2016, by 0.26°C. The month was also the second highest month overall in terms of sea surface temperature, with the hottest ever month, August 2023, being only 0.01°C hotter at 20.98°C. The average sea surface temperature for February so far exceeds this record, but the average for the month may be brought down if there are cooler days later on.

Daily sea surface temperature (°C) averaged over the extra-polar global ocean (60°S–60°N) for 2015 (blue), 2016 (yellow), 2023 (red), and 2024 (black line). All other years between 1979 and 2022 are shown with grey lines. Copernicus Climate Change Service.

Surprisingly, sea ice levels in the Arctic have been the highest since 2009, with above average concentrations of ice in the Greenland Sea (a persistent feature since October) and Sea of Okhotsk, although levels were below average in the Labrador Sea. Antarctic sea ice levels were the sixth lowest ever recorded, although they were significantly higher than in January 2023.

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