Temperature anomalies and percentiles are shown on the gridded maps below. The anomaly map on the left is a product of a merged land surface temperature (Global Historical Climatology Network, GHCN) and sea surface temperature (ERSST.v4) anomaly analysis as described in Huang et al. (2016). Temperature anomalies for land and ocean are analyzed separately and then merged to form the global analysis. For more information, please visit NCDC's Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page. The percentile map on the right provides additional information by placing the temperature anomaly observed for a specific place and time period into historical perspective, showing how the most current month, season or year compares with the past.


In the atmosphere, 500-millibar height pressure anomalies correlate well with temperatures at the Earth's surface. The average position of the upper-level ridges of high pressure and troughs of low pressure—depicted by positive and negative 500-millibar height anomalies on the January 2018 height and anomaly mapJanuary 2018 map—is generally reflected by areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies at the surface, respectively.


The January 2018 temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 0.71°C (1.28°F) above the 20th century average of 12.0°C (53.6°F). January 2018 marks the 42nd consecutive January (since 1977) and the 397th consecutive month (since January 1985) with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th century average. This was the fifth highest temperature for January in the 1880–2018 record. The last four years (2015–2018) rank among the five highest Januarys on record. The global land and ocean temperature during January has increased at an average rate of +0.07°C (+0.13°F) per decade since 1880; however, the average rate of increase is twice as great since 1975.

Notable warm anomalies were present across the western half of the contiguous U.S., central and eastern Europe, and northern Russia, where temperature departures from average were +2.0°C (3.6°F) or greater. Record warmth across the land was limited to small areas across the southwestern North America, central Europe, and parts of Oceania. Near- to cooler-than-average conditions were present across the eastern half of North America, central Africa, and central and eastern parts of Asia. The most notable cool temperature departures from average, -3.0°C (-5.4°F) or lower, were present across central Asia. However, no land areas had record cold temperatures during January 2018. The January 2018 global land surface temperature departure from average of +1.11°C (+2.00°F) was the lowest since 2013 and the eighth highest January land global temperature on record. According to NCEI's Regional Analysis, Oceania had its warmest January on record, while Europe had its second warmest January, behind 2007. Meanwhile, South America had its lowest temperature departure since 2011.

Select national information is highlighted below:

  • Austria had its third warmest January in its 251-year temperature record at 3.8°C (6.8°F) above average. This value falls behind the years 2007 (+4.7°C / +8.5°F) and 1796 (+4.5°C / +8.1°F).
  • The national average temperature for Germany for January 2018 was 3.4°C (6.1°F) above the 1981–2010 average and the sixth warmest January since national records began in 1881.
  • France's January 2018 national average temperature was 8.4°C (47.1°F), which is 3.4°C (6.1°F) above the 1981–2010 average and the highest January temperature since national records began in 1900.
  • Warmer-than-average conditions engulfed much of Australia during January 2018. Australia had its third highest January mean temperature in the nation's 109-year record, with a mean temperature of 1.28°C (2.3°F) above the 1961–1990 average. Regionally, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia had a top eight warm year, with Queensland and Tasmania having the second warmest January on record.
  • The national mean temperature for New Zealand was 20.3°C (68.5°F), which is 3.1°C (5.6°F) above the 1981–2010 average. This was the warmest January since national records began in 1909, exceeding the previous record set in 1956 by +1.2°C (+2.2°F). Only four months have had a nationwide temperature exceeding 2.0°C (3.6°F), including February 2016, May 2016, and December 2017. January 2018 was also the warmest month for any month on record, surpassing February 1998 which had a national temperature of 19.6°C (67.3°F). Regionally, several locations set record to near-record January temperatures. Of note, Christchurch and Hokitika had their warmest January since records began in 1863 and 1866, respectively.

Across the oceans, warmer-than-average conditions dominated across much of the world's oceans during January 2018, with record warmth observed across parts of the north Atlantic Ocean (off the coast of Portugal), and the central and southwestern Pacific Ocean. Near- to cooler-than-average conditions was present across parts of the northern and southern Pacific, as well as the tropical Pacific from the International Dateline to the west coast of South America. Parts of the Atlantic and Indian Ocean were also cooler than average. Record cold ocean surface temperature was limited to a small area in the south-central Pacific Ocean. Averaged as a whole, the global ocean surface temperature for January 2018 was 0.56°C (1.01°F) above the 20th century average of 15.8°C (60.5°F). This value tied with 1998 as the fifth highest global ocean temperature for January in the 139-year record.

La Niña was present across the tropical Pacific Ocean during January 2018. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, A transition from La Niña to ENSO-neutral will most likely occur during the Northern Hemisphere spring (Southern Hemisphere autumn). This forecast focuses on the ocean surface temperatures between 5°N and 5°S latitude and 170°W to 120°W longitude, called the Niño 3.4 region.

January Ranks and Records
(out of 139 years)
Land+1.11 ± 0.21+2.00 ± 0.38Warmest8th2007+1.86+3.35
Ocean+0.56 ± 0.15+1.01 ± 0.27Warmest5th2016+0.86+1.55
Coolest135th1909, 1911-0.44-0.79
Ties: 1998
Land and Ocean+0.71 ± 0.17+1.28 ± 0.31Warmest5th2016+1.06+1.91
Northern Hemisphere
Land+1.16 ± 0.28+2.09 ± 0.50Warmest11th2007+2.28+4.10
Ties: 2009
Ocean+0.68 ± 0.14+1.22 ± 0.25Warmest4th2016+0.96+1.73
Land and Ocean+0.86 ± 0.21+1.55 ± 0.38Warmest6th2016+1.25+2.25
Southern Hemisphere
Land+0.96 ± 0.16+1.73 ± 0.29Warmest6th2016+1.28+2.30
Ocean+0.47 ± 0.15+0.85 ± 0.27Warmest12th2016+0.80+1.44
Ties: 2004, 2006
Land and Ocean+0.54 ± 0.15+0.97 ± 0.27Warmest10th2016+0.87+1.57
Ties: 1983
Land and Ocean+2.42 ± 0.63+4.36 ± 1.13Warmest8th1981+4.38+7.88


The maps below represent precipitation percent of normal (left) and precipitation percentiles (right) based on the GHCN dataset of land surface stations using a base period of 1961–1990. As is typical, precipitation anomalies during January 2018 varied significantly around the world. Precipitation was above average across parts of eastern half of the contiguous U.S, Canada, northern Argentina, Paraguay, northern, central, and eastern Europe, northern, central, and southeastern Asia, and western Australia. It was notably dry across the south-central contiguous U.S., northeastern Brazil, southern half of Argentina, southern Europe, southern Asia, southern Africa, and eastern Australia.

  • January 2018 was Austria's wettest January since 1982 at 170% of normal January precipitation. However, several locations across the nation set new precipitation records. Of interest, Nauders in Tyrol (western Austria) had a monthly total of 163.0 mm (6.4 inches) for January 2018, resulting in the highest precipitation total since records began in 1896.
  • Several storms impacted France during January 2018. Several locations had two to three times the monthly normal precipitation for the month. The national precipitation total was 80% above average and the wettest January since 1959.
  • January 2018 was characterized by above-average precipitation across Ireland, with some locations receiving nearly double their monthly normal precipitation total. Of note, Malin Head had 203.7 mm (8.0 inches) of precipitation during January 2018—its highest monthly total since 1885.
  • References

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Monthly Global Climate Report for January 2018, published online February 2018, retrieved on December 7, 2023 from