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Global warming: The Earth just had its hottest January in recorded history

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  • The warmth of January 2020 broke the previous record set in January 2016.
  • The most notable warmer-than-average areas included much of Russia and parts of Scandinavia and eastern Canada.
  • January 2020 marked the the 421st consecutive month that the planet saw above-average temperatures.

The new decade is off to a hot start.

The Earth just had its warmest January on record, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday. Global temperature records go back to 1880.

The January 2020 global land and ocean surface temperature was 2.05 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average of 53.6 degrees, NOAA said. This broke the previous record set in January 2016.

The most notable warmer-than-average areas included much of Russia and parts of Scandinavia and eastern Canada, where temperatures were as much as 9 degrees above average or higher. 

Here in the U.S., all 48 contiguous states were warmer than average in January, NOAA said last week.

Globally, January 2020 marked the 44th consecutive January and the 421st consecutive month that the planet saw above-average temperatures.

The planet’s four warmest Januaries have occurred since 2016, and the 10 warmest Januaries have all occurred since 2002, NOAA said.