Major weather events

NOAA recorded these major weather events in January.

NOAA graphic Content Exchange

Despite the cooling influence of La Nina, January’s global temperatures ranked among the five warmest on record as Earth's polar regions continued to experience record-low ice conditions, NOAA reported Tuesday. 

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.

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

  • 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.
  • 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 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).

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