NASA has released its global temperature data for January 2016, and, once again, the record for the hottest month in recorded history has been shattered. At a time when these kinds of records are broken with some regularity, it takes a particularly scorching month to raise eyebrows in the climate science community. It has to be the hottest hottest month by a pretty hot margin.
Sure enough, last January did the trick: It was 1.13˚ C warmer than the global average of 1951-1980 (the benchmark NASA uses to measure warming trends)—in other words, a full 2˚F warmer than pre-1980 levels. In fact, January 2016 was a full 0.3˚ C hotter than January 2015. That, as Stefan Rahmstorf, a professor of physics at Potsdam University, points out, makes for not only the hottest January, but the “biggest increase over previous record and hottest anomaly for any month ever.”