Sun, Feb 18, 2007 - Page 1 News List

January set record high temperatures worldwide: NOAA


World temperatures last month were the highest ever recorded for that month of the year, US scientists said on Friday.

"The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the highest for any January on record," said scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Climate Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina.

The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 0.85oC warmer than the 20th century average of 12oC for January based on preliminary data, NOAA said. The figures surpass the previous record set in 2002 of 0.71oC above average.

Land surface temperature was a record 1.89oC warmer than average, while global ocean surface temperature was about 0.05oC cooler than the record established during the very strong El Nino phenomenon in 1998, making it the fourth-warmest in 128 years.

A moderate El Nino started in September and continued into last month before weakening, NOAA said.

El Nino is an occasional seasonal warming of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean that upsets normal weather patterns from the western seaboard of Latin America to East Africa.

"The presence of El Nino along with the continuing global warming trend contributed to the record warm January," NOAA said. "The unusually warm conditions contributed to the second-lowest January snow cover extent on record for the Eurasian continent."

"During the past century, global surface temperatures have increased at a rate near 0.11oF [0.06oC] per decade, but the rate of increase has been three times larger since 1976, or 0.32oF [0.18oC] per decade, with some of the largest ... increases occurring in the ... Northern Hemisphere," it said.

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