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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Third hottest January on record - global surface temperature report from NASA GISTemp

Sou | 2:05 PM Go to the first of 12 comments. Add a comment

According to GISS NASA, the average global surface temperature anomaly for January was 0.92 °C, which is 0.21 °C lower than the hottest January in 2016 and the third hottest January in the record (after 2016 and 2007).

Here is a chart of the average of 12 months to January each year. The 12 months to January 2017 averaged 0.96 °C above the 1951-1980 mean and was 0.07 °C hotter than the 12 months to January 2016, which with the latest data had an anomaly of 0.89 °C:

Figure 1 | Global mean surface temperature anomaly for the 12 months to January each year. The base period is 1951-1980. Data source: GISS NASA

Below is a chart of the month of January only. Hover over the chart to see the anomaly in any January:
Figure 2 | Global mean surface temperature anomaly for the the month of January only. The base period is 1951-1980. Data source: GISS NASA

ENSO year comparisons

Although there was no La Nina after the recent El Nino, I've kept the chart below just for interest. You can see the global mean temperature trend by month in the chart below, for the strongest El Niño years since 1950, which were followed by a La Nina. I've included the 2015/16 period for comparison. NOAA did indicate there was a very weak La Nina. The BoM ENSO update didn't, and is now showing neutral (but with a small chance of a weak El Nino later this year).

Not counting 2015/16, of the seven very strong, strong and strong to moderate El Ninos since 1950, there were only three that were followed by a La Nina. The chart spans a three year period. That is, for the 2015-16 El Niño and subsequent, it goes from January 2015 to December 2017, or would if the data allowed. (For a more detailed explanation see the HW articles: El Niño to La Niña years with more detail here.)

Figure 3 | Global mean surface temperature for strong or moderate/strong El Nino years that were followed by a La Nina. Also includes the 2015/16 El Nino for comparison. Data source: GISS NASA

Where was it hot?

Last month it was again very hot in the high northern latitudes. Parts of North America and Australia were also extremely hot, while parts of Europe and northern Africa were rather cool.

Figure 4 | Map showing mean surface temperature, anomalies for January, from the 1951-1980 mean. Source: GISS NASA

To give you an idea of just how hot it was in the high northern latitudes, this chart will give you an idea:

Figure 5 | Global mean surface temperature anomaly by latitude for January 2017. The base period is 1951-1980. Data source: GISS NASA


  1. Hi Sou,
    I believe you have picked Gistemp dTs data instead of Gistemp loti.
    The comparisons with the met station only index are of course similar to those with loti, but the temperature anomalies are a little higher..

    1. Bother, so I did. Thanks for picking this up, Olof. I've fixed most things now, just ENSO chart left. Will fix it now. (If the charts still look wrong, clear the cache and it will refresh.)

  2. On to February, which potentially looks to be a bit hotter yet.

  3. Sue, check the caption for fig. 1. (Sept?)

    Although BoM didn't call a La Nina, the US NOAA index, which has a lower threshold, shows one starting in JAS 2016 and continuing through NDJ:

    So by the NOAA standard, La Nina conditions have prevailed for the last 5 rolling 3-month periods. Surely even some at WUWT must be wondering why global temperatures, including satellite temperatures, have remained relatively high.

    1. Not again. Sorry about that. Fixed.

      (I wrote this while taking notes at a meeting. A bit naughty of me. Was distracted, not enough sleep, out of town, and wanted to get the article up. Too many mistakes made :( If anyone sees anything else wrong - that's my excuse. Will do better next time.)

    2. "Wondering", but very quickly allowing motivated reasoning and cognitive scotoma to erased the dissonance...

    3. Sue, all is forgiven. Just don't stop posting! We luv ya.

  4. No wondering required. All of the warming was caused by the La Lolita. See Nabokov et al (1955)

  5. Looks like Jan 2017 was the 3rd warmest Jan on record in NOAA:

    That's in the middle of what I think NOAA rate as La Nina 'appearance'.

    No word comes as yet from the Wutters.

  6. Another whinge.

    Figure 5 seems to have seven cities and then the Canadian Territory of Nunavut. Nunavut is huge, probably close to 3,000km north to south and perhaps 2250km east to west. If Google is to be believed it's about 8.5 times the size of the state of Victoria.

    Is it possible that the name on the figure should be Iqaluit (the capital of the territory)rather than the territorial name?

    1. I got picked up for that last time. I've changed it now. Not sure what happened there. I'll use the same excuse :(

    2. Grise Fiord! Thanks Sou.

      I had to look it up. Apparently I had heard of it before but could not remember it but it's relocation village---not one of Canada's prouder moments.


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