Last month was the hottest January on record, surpassing a previous high recorded in 2016, the US climate service said.
Land and ocean surface temperatures surpassed the 20th century January average of 53.6 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius) by 2.05 degrees, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. They beat January 2016, the hottest January since records began in 1880 — by a narrow 0.04 degrees. Current pledges to cut emissions put earth on a path of several degrees of warming by the end of the century, which will make large swaths of the planet inhospitable for humans and many other species.
The record temperatures in January follow an exceptionally warm 2019, which has been ranked as the second hottest year for the planet’s surface since reliable measurements started. The past five years and the past decade are the hottest in 150 years of record-keeping, an indication of the gathering pace of the climate crisis.