Global Analysis - January 2009


Global Highlights:

  • Based on preliminary data, the globally averaged combined land and sea surface temperature was the seventh warmest on record for January.
  • January 2009 temperatures were above average in much of the land areas of the globe, with the exception of cooler-than-average temperatures across the northeastern and midwestern contiguous U.S., western Alaska, eastern Russia, western Europe, northwestern Africa, southeastern Asia, northeastern Australia, and northern Argentina.
  • Precipitation during January 2009 was above average across Iceland, the British Isles, Alaska's panhandle, northeastern Australia, eastern and southern parts of Europe, northern South America, and southeastern Asia. Drier-than-average conditions were observed across eastern Asia, most of the continental U.S., eastern and southern parts of South America, and northern Europe.
  • Cold phase El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) (La Niña) conditions were present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean during January 2009.

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The data presented in this report are preliminary. Ranks and anomalies may change as more complete data are received and processed. The most current data may be accessed via the Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page.

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Introduction

Temperature anomalies for January 2009 are shown on the dot maps below. The dot map, below left, provides a spatial representation of anomalies calculated from the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) data set of land surface stations using a 1961-1990 base period. The dot map, below right, is a product of a merged land surface and sea surface temperature anomaly analysis developed by Smith and Reynolds (2005). Temperature anomalies with respect to the 1961-1990 mean for land and ocean are analyzed separately and then merged to form the global analysis. Additional information on this product is available.

During January 2009, warmer-than-average temperatures engulfed much of the land areas of the world, with the exception of cooler-than-average conditions across the northeastern and midwestern continental U.S., western Alaska, eastern Russia, western Europe, northwestern Africa, southeastern Asia, northeastern Australia, and northern Argentina. In contrast, warmest above-average temperatures occurred throughout Mexico, the Fenno-Scandinavia region, eastern Europe, southern Australia, the western half of the contiguous U.S., and most of Asia. Temperature anomalies in most of these regions ranged from 2.0°C-6.0°C (3.6°F-10.8°F) above normal.

Sea surface temperatures (SST) during January 2009 were warmer than average across most of the Indian, Atlantic, western Pacific oceans, while cooler-than-average conditions were present across the southern oceans and northeastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean. SST anomalies in all Niño regions remained below average during January 2009, however some warming took place across the Niño 1+2 and Niño 3 regions. Please see the January 2009 ENSO discussion for additional information.

Notable temperature extremes during January 2009 include southern Australia's exceptional heatwave. The most extreme heat took place January 28-31, affecting southern Australia, which saw numerous new temperature records across the region. It was reported that southern South Australia and most of Victoria experienced their highest maximum temperatures since 1939. During this event, South Australia's highest maximum temperature was 48.2°C (118.8°F) recorded on January 28, while Victoria saw its highest temperature on January 29 and January 31 when temperatures rose to 45.8°C (114.4°F). Adelaide recorded its highest low temperature in the early hours of January 29 when temperatures only dropped to 33.9°C (93.0°F). Tasmania observed a new state maximum temperature record of 42.2°C (108.0°F) on January 30. The previous record was 40.8°C (105.4°F) set on 4 January 1976. A complete summary of Australia's heatwave is available, courtesy of Australia's Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). Unlike the southern states, Queensland and Northern Territory had their coolest January since 1984.

In Europe, bitter cold temperatures gripped the northern and eastern region at the beginning of the month. Temperatures plummeted to -9.9°C (14.2°F) in Farnborough, Hampshire, the lowest temperature since January 1991. While in Poland, temperatures fell to -25.0°C (-13.0°F). The harsh temperatures were blamed for 10 fatalities. Germany experienced its coldest night in 22 years on January 6 as temperatures plunged to -28.0°C (-18.4°F).

Across the midwestern and northeastern contiguous U.S., arctic cold air brought below-freezing temperatures in some areas. Numerous low minimum temperature records were broken during January 16-17, including an all time state minimum temperature record of -45.6°C (-50.0°F) recorded on the 16th in Maine. Please see the January 2009 U.S. National Overview for additional information.

Additional details on extreme temperatures can also be found on the January 2009 Global Hazards page.

The mean position of the upper-level ridges of high pressure and troughs of low pressure (depicted by positive and negative 500-millibar height anomalies on the January map, respectively) are generally reflected by areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies at the surface, respectively. For other Global products, please see the Climate Monitoring Global Products page.

Images of sea surface temperature conditions are available for all weeks during 2009 at the weekly SST page.

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Temperature Rankings and Graphics

Current Month

Effective with the February 2006 report, NCDC transitioned from the use of the Operational Global Surface Temperature Index (Quayle et al. 1999) to the blended land and ocean dataset developed by Smith and Reynolds (2005). The differences between the two methods are discussed in Smith et al. (2005). The ranks found in the tables below are based on records that began in 1880.

The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the seventh warmest on record in January. The global average land in January tied with 2005 as the eighth warmest on record, while the global average ocean SST was the seventh warmest on record.

January Anomaly Rank
(out of 129 years)
Warmest (or Next
Warmest) Year on Record

Global

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean

+0.93°C (+1.67°F)
+0.39°C (+0.70°F)
+0.53°C (+0.95°F)

8thwarmest
7th warmest
7th warmest

2007 (+1.87°C/3.37°F)
1998 (+0.52°C/0.94°F)
2007 (+0.84°C/1.51°F)

Northern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+1.05°C (+1.89°F)
+0.33°C (+0.59°F)
+0.60°C (+1.08°F)


10th warmest
8th warmest
7th warmest


2007 (+2.27°C/4.09°F)
1998 (+0.51°C/0.92°F)
2007 (+1.16°C/2.09°F)

Southern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+0.53°C (+0.95°F)
+0.45°C (+0.81°F)
+0.46°C (+0.83°F)


10th warmest
8th warmest
7th warmest


2006 (+0.78°C/1.40°F)
1998 (+0.55°C/0.99°F)
1998 (+0.58°C/1.04°F)

The most current data may be accessed via the Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page.

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Precipitation

The maps below represent anomaly values based on the GHCN data set of land surface stations using a base period of 1961-1990. Precipitation during January 2009 was above average over areas that include Iceland, the British Isles, Alaska's panhandle, northeastern Australia, eastern and southern parts of Europe, northern South America, and southeastern Asia. Drier-than-average conditions were observed across eastern Asia, most of the continental U.S., eastern and southern parts of South America, and northern Europe.

According to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), precipitation across the nation was 35 percent above normal, resulting in the 12th wettest January since records began in 1900. However, the southern states that suffered an exceptional heat during the last week of January were also affected by very dry conditions during the month, with Victoria experiencing its driest January since 1956 and sixth driest January on record when its precipitation was 82 percent below normal. South Australia and New South Wales had 80 percent and 67 percent below normal precipitation, respectively. In contrast, Queensland had its sixth wettest January (80 percent above normal) and January 2009 was the wettest since 1991.

Details on flooding and drought can also be found on the January Global Hazards page.

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ENSO SST Analysis

As shown in the adjacent animation, SST anomalies across the equatorial Pacific remained below average. However, the Niño 1+2 region anomalies showed a slight warming (-0.18°C [-0.32°F]) compared to December's values (anomaly of -0.41°C [-0.74°F]). The Oceanic Niño Index [three-month (November-December-January) running mean] was -0.6°C (-0.5°F), which is below its threshold of -0.5°C (-0.9°F), indicating La Niña conditions. A comprehensive summary of January 2009 ENSO conditions can be found on the ENSO monitoring page. For the latest advisory on ENSO conditions go to NOAA's CPC and the CPC ENSO Diagnostic Discussion.

Images of sea surface temperature conditions are available for all weeks since 2003 at the weekly SST page.

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References

Peterson, T.C. and R.S. Vose, 1997: An Overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network Database. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 78, 2837-2849.

Quayle, R.G., T.C. Peterson, A.N. Basist, and C. S. Godfrey, 1999: An operational near-real-time global temperature index. Geophys. Res. Lett., 26, 333-335.

Smith, T.M., and R.W. Reynolds (2005), A global merged land air and sea surface temperature reconstruction based on historical observations (1880-1997), J. Clim., 18, 2021-2036.

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Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for January 2009, published online February 2009, retrieved on October 25, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2009/1.