World had warmest January on record

World had warmest January on record
16 February 2024

By the Climate Centre

Last year’s record-breaking trend has continued in 2024 with the hottest January on record, the World Meteorological Organization said yesterday, using data from several international sources.

“It is the eighth month in a row that is the warmest on record for the respective time of the year. Sea surface temperatures have been [at a] record high for ten consecutive months,” NOAA, NASA, Copernicus, and the Japan Meteorological Agency all agree, a WMO press release said.

The average monthly temperature was 1.66°C warmer than an estimate of the January average for 1850–1900, according to Copernicus, nudging the planet closer to exceeding the Paris target of 1.5°C for a sustained period of years; it was 0.12°C above the previous recorded warmest January in 2020.

WMO has already confirmed that 2023 was by far the warmest year on record due to climate change and El Niño.

Global precipitation was nearly at a record high in January after a record wet December, WMO adds; large parts of North America, Asia and Australia were wetter than average while much of Southern Africa and South America were drier than normal.

The El Niño rainfall pattern over the central and western Pacific Ocean weakened but “remained more typical” over Africa and the southern US, according to NOAA.

The final WMO State of the Global Climate 2023 report will be published for World Meteorological Day on 23 March.

Significant climate anomalies and events in January. The infographic includes the deadly wildfires in Chile, which broke out amid unusually hot southern summer conditions and for which the IFRC has just issued an emergency humanitarian grant to the Red Cross of 500,000 Swiss francs. (Infographic: WMO-NOAA)