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January 2020 was Earth's hottest January in 141 years of climate records

"There has never been a warmer January than last month," the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said about the ominous record.

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A penguin on King George Island in Antarctica this past December. The following month was the hottest January on record, says NOAA, and researchers are investigating the possibility of a new record high temperature in Antarctica logged earlier in February.

A penguin in Antarctica in December. The following month was the hottest January on record, says NOAA, and researchers are investigating the possibility of a new record high temperature in Antarctica recorded earlier in February.

Alessandro Dahan/Getty Images

The Earth has set yet another heat record. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration crunched the numbers and declared January 2020 the hottest January on record.

NOAA's data stretches back 141 years. The agency shared a global map on Twitter showing plenty of red areas that highlight the warming action seen in January.

"The January global land and ocean surface temperature was the highest on record at 2.05 degrees Fahrenheit (1.14 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century average," NOAA said in a statement Thursday. This beat out the previous record holder, January 2016.

The hot month was not exactly an anomaly, at least not for this century. The 10 warmest Januaries on record have all happened since 2002, the agency noted.

This NOAA map illustrates the departure from average temperatures in January 2020.

NOAA

NOAA tracked notable climate events that occurred last month and compiled them into a map. The data shows that Arctic and Antarctic sea ice coverage was below average. 

There were some oddities. Alaska experienced its coldest January since 2012, but Europe, Asia, South America and the rest of the US all logged higher than average temperatures for the month.  

Heat records are being broken with regularity as scientists warn about the dangers of climate change. NOAA announced in January that 2019 was the second-warmest year on record. Researchers are investigating the possibility of a new record high temperature in Antarctica logged earlier in February.

We're not done yet. NOAA scientists ran a statistical analysis for the agency's January global climate report. The results? "The year 2020 is very likely to rank among the five warmest years on record."

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