January 2024 has officially been declared the World’s warmest January globally, as confirmed by the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), operating under the European Commission. This significant rise in temperature highlights the growing concerns regarding global climate change and its far-reaching impacts.
In its latest climate update, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) has highlighted the significant changes observed in various climate variables, such as global surface air and sea temperatures, sea ice cover, and hydrological aspects. These insights, derived from sophisticated computer-generated analyses of extensive data encompassing atmospheric, land, and oceanic elements, underscore an alarming trend of escalating global temperatures. This trend was starkly illustrated by the World’s warmest January on record, which clearly indicates the rapid changes our planet is undergoing.
The report highlighted a striking average surface air temperature of 13.14°C for January 2024, marking a 0.70°C increase above the 1991-2020 January average and surpassing the previous record set in January 2020 by 0.12°C. This alarming statistic represents the eighth consecutive month of record-breaking warmth for its respective time of the year.
Moreover, January 2024’s temperatures were 1.66°C warmer than the estimated average for January during the pre-industrial era of 1850-1900, as a stark reminder of the rapid pace of global warming. The data, collated through the ERA5 system, which aggregates hourly measurements from satellites, ships, aircraft, and weather stations worldwide, underscores the critical nature of the situation.
The global mean temperature for the past twelve months, from February 2023 to January 2024, has also set a new record, being 0.64°C above the 1991-2020 average and a concerning 1.52°C above the pre-industrial average.
Samantha Burgess, Deputy Director of C3S, emphasized the dire need for rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to halt the continuous rise in global temperatures. “2024 starts with another record-breaking month – not only is it the warmest January on record, but we have also just experienced 12 months of more than 1.5°C above the pre-industrial reference period,” Burgess stated.
The temperature variations across different regions were notable, with the Nordic countries experiencing much lower temperatures than the 1991-2020 average, while southern Europe, eastern Canada, north-western Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia saw significantly higher temperatures. In contrast, western Canada, the central USA, and most eastern Siberia recorded below-average temperatures.
Interestingly, the El Niño phenomenon, which typically contributes to global temperature increases, began to weaken in the equatorial Pacific. However, marine air temperatures remained unusually high. The global extrapolar ocean’s average sea surface temperature reached a January record of 20.97°C, illustrating the extraordinary climatic conditions experienced.
The Arctic saw its highest sea ice extent for January since 2009, with above-average concentrations in the Greenland Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk and below-average concentrations in the Labrador Sea. Conversely, the Antarctic sea ice extent was significantly below average, marking the sixth lowest for January.
Europe faced a wetter-than-average January, with significant storms impacting the north-western and south-western regions, while drier conditions prevailed in other parts of the continent and beyond. These climatic anomalies contributed to extreme weather events, including deadly wildfires in Australia and Chile.
The call for immediate action to address global warming becomes increasingly urgent as the world grapples with these unprecedented climatic changes.