That year, like 2015, was also an El Nio year. Arctic sea ice extent for the month of January hit a record low. The monthly average sea ice extent for January was 42,500 square miles below the previous record low in 2011, and about 405,000 square miles below the 1979-2000 average.
January was also the warmest such month on record, NASA found, in preliminary data released this weekend by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.
The data, which is subject to adjustment as scientists refine their analysis, shows that the combination of accelerated manmade global warming from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, is combining with a record strong El Niño to bump up temperatures to never-before-seen levels since at least 1880.
According to NASA, the global average surface temperature during January was 1.13 degrees Celsius, or 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit above average, compared to the 1951 to 1980 average.
This makes it the first month to exceed 2 degrees Fahrenheit above average. December’s global average temperature came in just under this, at 1.11 degrees Celsius above average, which translates to nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Read more…