January 2007 Hotest On record

It may be cold comfort during a frigid February, but last month was by far the hottest January ever.

The broken record was fueled by a waning El Nino and a gradually warming world, according to U.S. scientists who reported the data Thursday.

Records on the planet’s temperature have been kept since 1880. 

Spurred on by unusually warm Siberia, Canada, northern Asia and Europe, the world’s land areas were 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) warmer than a normal January, according to the U.S. National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

That didn’t just nudge past the old record set in 2002, but broke that mark by 0.81 degrees Fahrenheit (0.56C), which meteorologists said is a lot, since such records often are broken by hundredths of a degree at a time.

“That’s pretty unusual for a record to be broken by that much,” said the data center’s scientific services chief, David Easterling. “I was very surprised.”

The scientists went beyond their normal double checking and took the unusual step of running computer climate models “just to make sure that what we’re seeing was real,” Easterling said.

It was.

“From one standpoint it is not unusual to have a new record because we’ve become accustomed to having records broken,” said Jay Lawrimore, climate monitoring branch chief.

But January, he said, was a bigger jump than the world has seen in about 10 years.

 

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