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January 2016 Was The Warmest On Record

February 23, 2016
Environmental Protection

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have declared that January was the warmest month since records began in 1880. The average global temperature for the first month of 2016 reached 13.05oc, overtaking the previous record set in January 2007.

The rise in global temperatures was fueled by anomalies in sea surface temperatures in the Pacific and Indian Oceans along with a rapid rise in Arctic temperatures. The situation at the Arctic where temperatures showed a 4oc increase on the average for the region measured between 1951 and 1980 was of particular interest to scientists.

The increased temperatures are part of a phenomenon known as ‘Arctic amplification’, which has also led to a rapid decrease in sea ice. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), the extent of sea ice was over 400,000 square miles below the average for the month of January. While man made global warming is thought to be partially responsible, as Mark Serreze a director at the NSIDC explained, other weather patterns may have had a big influence. “I think this is more than coincidence. That we have this very strong El Niño at the same time when we have this absurd Arctic warmth,” he said. “But exactly what the details are on that, I don’t think we can say right now.”

The past nine months have all set record temperatures and initial readings suggest February will continue the trend.

You can view the full global analysis for January HERE