After the warmest year in recorded history, the new year also started with a record. With a global average temperature of 13.14 degrees, January was exactly 0.7 degrees warmer than the average for the years 1991-2020, beating the previous record holder (2020) by 0.12 degrees.
Never warmer January globally
According to Copernicus analysis data, last January had a global average temperature of 13.14 degrees. Compared to the long-term norm (1991-2020), this corresponds to an excess of +0.7 degrees. According to climate science estimates, the difference to the pre-industrial level (1850-1900) was as much as +1.66 degrees. However, the positive temperature deviation in the first month of the new year was lower than in the last six months of the record year 2023. If you look at the developments over the last 40 or so Januaries, you can see a clear upward trend.
Fig. 1: Temperature deviations in the last 40 or so Januaries; Source: Copernicus
Contrasting picture in Europe
The picture in Europe is divided. Large parts of Scandinavia were once again too cold; in Finland, for example, it was the fourth month in a row with a negative deviation of at least 2 degrees; the last time there was a similar series was in the winter of 2009/10. Particularly noteworthy were the very cold days at the beginning of the month with temperatures of up to –44 degrees, the coldest it has been in Lapland for 25 years.
In Finland, there have been now four consecutive months with a nationwide temperature anomaly— Mika Rantanen (@mikarantane) February 8, 2024
The last such streak of cold months occurred in the winter of 2009-2010. pic.twitter.com/X2FYpJ7lmY
In the rest of Europe, however, it was almost consistently too mild. The largest temperature surplus was recorded from the Iberian Peninsula to the Alpine region. With a national deviation of +2.4 degrees compared to the norm, Spain even experienced the warmest January in recorded history. In Switzerland, the temperature level was around 1.5 degrees above the norm.
January 2024 in #Spain had an average temperature of 8.4C, +2.4C above normal and was the HOTTEST January on record— Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) February 8, 2024
Canary Islands had an average of 17.9C, +3.1C above normal and was also the hottest on record
It was dry on coastal areas and wet in the highlands
See maps by AEMET pic.twitter.com/SBlZSHsxB0
The strongest positive temperature deviation outside Europe was recorded over western Canada, northwest Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. In Montreal, for example, it was the second month with a deviation of more than 4 degrees, and in northern Quebec the excess was almost 7 degrees! The excessively high temperatures in Africa were coupled with below-average rainfall, which further exacerbated the drought conditions. The South American continent also experienced remarkable heatwaves with countless temperature records. The first third of February was in no way inferior to January in this respect either.
That said, there were also regions with below-average temperatures. For example, a large part of eastern Russia, western Canada and parts of the United States.
Fig. 2: Temperature deviations in January according to Copernicus; Source: Copernicus
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