Jan­uary tem­per­a­tures high­est ever recorded

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL -

Just one month af­ter NASA de­clared 2015 the hottest year on record, the global av­er­age tem­per­a­ture for Jan­uary reached its high­est level ever last month.

Last month, the over­all tem­per­a­ture at earth’s sur­face was 1.13°C above the 19511980 av­er­age.

Ac­cord­ing to NASA records dat­ing back to 1880, the pre­vi­ous hottest Jan­uary was in 2007 when it was 0.95°C above av­er­age.

NASA’s lat­est claim was backed up by Ja­pan’s Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Agency, af­ter it re­ported that Jan­uary’s global land and sea-sur­face tem­per­a­tures were 0.52 de­grees above av­er­age.

The agency added that tem­per­a­tures in Jan­uary are ris­ing at the rate of about 0.75 de­grees per cen­tury.

The El Niño weather phe­nom­e­non is thought to have peaked in Jan­uary, con­tribut­ing to the record-break­ing tem­per­a­tures.

“If past events help pre­dict fu­ture ones, then we have prob­a­bly reached the peak of the 2015–2016 El Niño,” NASA said last month.

“Warmer-than-av­er­age wa­ters in the east­ern trop­i­cal Pa­cific Ocean should start to cool off and shift west­ward.”

But even as El Niño con­tin­ues to im­pact global tem­per­a­tures, the op­pos­ing weather phe­nom­e­non known as La Niña is thought to be set to re­turn for the first time in four years.

The US govern­ment fore­caster said last week that the re­turn of La Niña is pos­si­ble later this year, fol­low­ing on the heels of one of the strong­est El Niños ever recorded.

La Niña con­di­tions oc­cur un­pre­dictably ev­ery two to seven years. While they can be less dam­ag­ing than El Niño, se­vere La Niñas are as­so­ci­ated with floods, droughts and At­lantic hur­ri­canes.

The most re­cent La Niña, from Au­gust 2011 to March 2012, brought the worst drought in a cen­tury to Texas and in­creased the num­ber of storms that threat­ened the Caribbean and US coastal re­gions.

Mean­while, Dis­cover Mag­a­zine pointed out that global land tem­per­a­tures have been in­creas­ingly steadily since 1880.

And as Thomas R. Karl, di­rec­tor of NOAA’s Na­tional Cen­ters for En­vi­ron­men­tal In­for­ma­tion, said last year: “The trend over time is why we’re hav­ing a record warm year.”

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