Citing 141 years of records, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has called last month the hottest January of all, to date. Meanwhile, the 10 warmest January temperatures all took place this century, since 2002, highlighting the accelerated climate crisis.
Typically, the first month of the year is the coldest. But recent recordings reveal significantly warmer average temperatures. As NOAA reported, “January 2020 marked the 44th consecutive January and the 421st consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th-century average.”
NOAA also found that “The January global land and ocean surface temperature was the highest on record at 2.05 degrees F (1.14 degrees C) above the 20th-century average. This surpassed the record set in January 2016 by 0.04 of a degree F (0.02 of a degree C).”
Last month registered 2.70 degrees F above average for the Northern Hemisphere, while the Southern Hemisphere docked at 1.40 degrees F above average. This was closely tied to a considerable lack of snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere. Yet another worrisome trend is that both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice coverage were significantly diminished.
According to NASA, 97% of publishing climate scientists recognize human activity as the culprit in the alarming uptick of global temperatures — specifically the burning of fossil fuels, the misuse of land by logging and animal husbandry for the meat industry — all of which increase concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.
These runaway global temperatures have had far-reaching repercussions, such as creating climate extremes, unpredictable precipitation, retreating glaciers, sea level rise, ecosystem imbalances and endangerment of many flora and fauna. If left unmitigated, the climate crisis will start to adversely affect humans further by disrupting food supplies, causing property damage, burdening economies, inciting population displacement and compounding the magnitude of public health issues.
Image via Angie Agostino