Summary Information

The State of the Climate Summary Information is a synopsis of the collection of national and global summaries released each month.


Global Summary Information - January 2016

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January 2016 warmest on record for January;

Arctic sea ice extent smallest on record for January


The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for January 2016 was the highest for the month since record keeping began in 1880. Ocean surface temperatures were also highest for the month, while land surface temperatures were second highest on record.


Global highlights: January 2016

    January Blended Land and Sea Surface Temperature Percentiles
    January 2016 Blended Land and Sea Surface
    Temperature Percentiles
    January 2016 Blended Land & Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies in °C
  • During January, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.87°F (1.04°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest for January in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record of 2007 by 0.29°F (0.16°C). January 2016 also marks the ninth consecutive month to break a monthly global temperature record.
  • During January, the globally-averaged land surface temperature was 2.79°F (1.55°C) above the 20th century average. This was the second highest for January in the 1880–2016 record. The warmest January occurred in 2007, at 3.29°F (1.83°C) above average.
  • During January, the globally-averaged sea surface temperature was 1.55°F (0.86°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest for January in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record of 2010 by 0.45°F (0.25°C)
  • Looking above Earth's surface at certain layers of the atmosphere, the January 2016 temperature for the lower troposphere (roughly the lowest five miles of the atmosphere) was the highest in the 1979–2016 record, at 0.99°F (0.55°C) above the 1981–2010 average, and also highest on record for the mid-troposphere (roughly two miles to six miles above the surface), at 0.81°F (0.45°C) above average, as analyzed by Remote Sensing Systems (RSS). This continues a streak of record warmth for both regions. Record high temperatures were observed during the previous September–November seasonal period as well as December 2015.
  • According to data from NOAA analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during January was 740,000 square miles above the 1981-2010 average. This was the ninth largest January Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent in the 50-year period of record. The North American snow cover extent was the sixth largest on record while the Eurasian snow cover extent was the 13th largest.
  • The average Arctic sea ice extent for January was 410,000 square miles (7.14 percent) below the 1981–2010 average. This was the smallest January extent since records began in 1979 and 35,000 square miles smaller than the previous record of 2011, according to analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center based on data from NOAA and NASA.
  • Antarctic sea ice during January was 800,000 square miles (4.26 percent) below the 1981–2010 average. This was the 17th smallest Antarctic sea ice extent in the 38-year period of record and the smallest since 2011.

For extended analysis of global temperature and precipitation patterns, please see our full January report