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.”


In this article

Join the Conversation