|Figure 1 | Monthly global mean surface temperature 1880 to January 2016. Data source: GISS NASA|
- The previous highest monthly anomaly was December 2015 at 1.11 °C above the 1951-1980.
- The previous hottest January was January 2007, at 0.95 °C above the 1951-1980 mean.
- The coldest January on record was in 1909, at 0.7 °C below the 1951-1980 mean.
- Each of the past four months, from October 2015, have had an anomaly greater than 1 °C.
- The average anomaly for the past 12 months, from February 2015 to January 2016 is 0.89 °C.
In January the world was probably around 1.4 °C above the pre-industrial average global temperature - by my rough estimate.
It's too soon to start plotting the year to date progression. Instead here is a chart just for all the Januarys going back to 1880. This month is 0.18 °C (0.32 °F) warmer than the previous hottest January (2007) and 1.83 °C (3.29 °F) hotter than the coldest January in the record (1909).
|Figure 2 | January only - global mean surface temperature January 1880 to January 2016. Data source: GISS NASA|
Some of the extra heat would be because of the current El Niño. Below is the chart showing how El Niño is affecting the global surface temperature compared with two previous El Niños. This year the surface as a whole is way hotter than the super El Niño of 1997-98.
|Figure 3 | Global mean surface temperature selected El Niño years. Data source: GISS NASA|
The reason for it being so much hotter is probably because the biggest anomalies are in the Arctic (and around Kazakhstan, Afghanistan I think- to the northwest of India/Pakistan), not the tropics. Below is a map from NASA for anomalies in January 2016. You'll probably also notice the legend down the bottom - how it's now much greater above zero than below. (Zero is the 1951-1980 average.)
|Figure 4 | Anomaly vs 1951-1980 mean January 2016. Gray areas signify missing data. Ocean data are not used over land nor within 100km of a reporting land station. Source: GISS NASA|
GISS also provides a zonal chart, which demonstrates just how hot it is in the Arctic. It's around 7.5 °C ( 13.5°F) above the 1951-1980 mean - and that's average!
|Figure 5 | Zonal anomalies January 2016. Source: GISS NASA|
There's not much more to add at this time except, as always, feel free to use or repost the charts.