January 2019 Selected Climate Anomalies and Events Map


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. (2018). Temperature anomalies for land and ocean are analyzed separately and then merged to form the global analysis. For more information, please visit NCEI'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 2019 map—is generally reflected by areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies at the surface, respectively.

January Temperature

The first month of 2019 was characterized by warmer-than-average conditions across much of the world's surface. The most notable warm temperature anomalies were present across much of Australia and across parts of northeastern and southwestern Asia, where temperature departures from average were 4.0°C (7.2°F) above average or higher. Record warm January surface temperatures were present across much of Australia and its surrounding Southern Ocean, southern Brazil, the ocean off the south coast of South Africa, and across parts of Africa, Asia, and the southeastern Pacific Ocean. Notable cool temperature departures from average were present across parts of northern North America, Europe, and central Asia, where temperatures were 1.0°C (1.8°F) below average or cooler. According to our analysis, no land or ocean surface had record cold January temperatures.

Averaged as a whole, the January 2019 global land and ocean surface temperature was 0.88°C (1.58°F) above the 20th century average and tied with 2007 as the third highest temperature since global records began in 1880. Only the years 2016 (+1.06°C / +1.91°F) and 2017 (+0.91°C / +1.64°F) were warmer. The ten warmest Januaries have all occurred since 2002, with the last five years (2015–2019) among the six warmest years in the 140-year record. January 1976 was the last time the January global land and ocean temperatures were below average at -0.02°C (-0.04°F).

The global land-only January 2019 temperature was the fourth highest in the 140-year record at 1.51°C (2.72°F) above average, trailing behind 2007 (+1.85°C / +3.33°F), 2016 (+1.58°C / +2.84°F), and 2017 (+1.58°C / +2.84°F). According to NCEI's Regional Analysis, three (South America, Asia, and Oceania) of six continents had a January temperature ranking among their five highest since continental records began in 1910. Of note, Oceania had its warmest January on record at 2.56°C (4.61°F) above average. North America had its coolest January since 2011. Meanwhile, the global ocean-only temperature for January 2019 was 0.65°C (1.17°F) above average—the third warmest January since global records began in 1880. The record warm global ocean temperature departure from average of +0.86°C (+1.55°F) was set in 2016. January 2017 ranked as the second warmest on record.

Select national information is highlighted below. Please note that different countries report anomalies with respect to different base periods. The information provided here is based directly upon these data:

  • Several locations across Canada set new low maximum and minimum temperature records during the end of the month as cold Arctic air affected the region. According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, maximum temperatures during this time did not go above the -25.0°C (-13.0°F) mark. Of note, Lansdowne House (Ontario) set a new low minimum temperature on January 27 when temperatures plummeted to -47.5°C (-53.5°F), exceeding the previous record set in 1957 (-38.9°C / -38.0°F).
  • Hong Kong's mean temperature for January 2019 was 18.1°C (64.6°F) or 1.8°C (3.2°F) above average. This was the third warmest January on record for Hong Kong. Minimum and maximum temperatures were the third and fifth warmest on record, respectively.
  • A heat wave impacted much of Chile during January 24–27, with several locations registering temperatures as high as 40.0°C (104.0°F). The city of Santiago set a new maximum temperature record when temperatures soared to 38.3°C (100.9°F) on January 26. Santiago's previous record was set in 2017 at 37.4°C (99.3°F).
  • According to the World Meteorological Organization, Brazil also had a heat wave that affected the southeastern part of the country. Several locations recorded temperatures above 30.0°C (86.0°F). Of particular interest, Rio de Janeiro had registered a temperature of 37.4°C (99.3°F)—the second hottest temperature for the station since 1961.
  • Unusually warm temperatures engulfed much of Australia during January 2019, resulting in the warmest January since national temperature records began in 1910. The national mean temperature was 2.91°C (5.24°F) above the 1961–1990 average, shattering the previous record set in 2013 by 0.99°C (1.78°F). The nation's maximum and minimum temperatures were also record warm at +3.37°C (+6.07°F) and +2.45°C (+4.41°F), respectively. Most regions had a record warm January, with South Australia and Western Australia having their second warmest January on record. The region with the highest mean temperature departure from average was New South Wales at 5.86°C (10.55°F) above average. New South Wales' previous record was set in 1939 at +3.79°C (6.82°F).
    • An intense heat wave affected Australia throughout much of the month, with many locations setting new high maximum and minimum January temperature records. According to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology, the nation's mean temperature reached 40.0°C (104.0°F) on five consecutive days (12–16 January 2019), exceeding the previous record of two consecutive days set in 1972 and again in 2013.
  • New Zealand's January 2019 temperature of 18.8°C (65.8°F) was 1.7°C (3.1°F) above the 1981–2010 average and the third highest January temperature since national records began in 1909. January 2018 is New Zealand's warmest January on record. A heat wave affected much of New Zealand at the end of the month, with many locations having record or near-record warm January temperatures.
  • According to Météo France, the Reunion Island had its warmest January since national records began. The January 2019 temperature was 1.4°C (2.5°F) above average, which exceeded the previous record set in 1998 by 0.3°C (0.5°F).

Weak El Niño conditions were present across the tropical Pacific Ocean during January 2019. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, El Niño conditions are expected to continue through 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 140 years)
Land+1.51 ± 0.20+2.72 ± 0.36Warmest4th2007+1.85+3.33
Ocean+0.65 ± 0.15+1.17 ± 0.27Warmest3rd2016+0.86+1.55
Coolest138th1909, 1911-0.44-0.79
Land and Ocean+0.88 ± 0.17+1.58 ± 0.31Warmest3rd2016+1.06+1.91
Ties: 2007
Northern Hemisphere
Land+1.53 ± 0.27+2.75 ± 0.49Warmest6th2007+2.26+4.07
Ocean+0.73 ± 0.14+1.31 ± 0.25Warmest3rd2016+0.96+1.73
Land and Ocean+1.03 ± 0.20+1.85 ± 0.36Warmest5th2016+1.25+2.25
Southern Hemisphere
Land+1.47 ± 0.13+2.65 ± 0.23Warmest1st2019+1.47+2.65
Ocean+0.58 ± 0.15+1.04 ± 0.27Warmest5th2016+0.80+1.44
Land and Ocean+0.73 ± 0.15+1.31 ± 0.27Warmest2nd2016+0.87+1.57
Land and Ocean+1.59 ± 0.59+2.86 ± 1.06Warmest25th1981+4.41+7.94

The most current data can be accessed via the Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page.


January Precipitation

The maps below represent precipitation percent of normal (left, using a base period of 1961–1990) and precipitation percentiles (right, using the period of record) based on the GHCN dataset of land surface stations. As is typical, precipitation anomalies during January 2019 varied significantly around the world. Drier-than-average conditions were present across much of the western and northern parts of Europe, northeastern Brazil, southern Argentina and Chile, Mongolia, Japan, the Korean Peninsula, and much of Australia. Wetter-than-average conditions were observed across the eastern half of the contiguous U.S., northern Argentina, Uruguay, and eastern Europe.

Select national information is highlighted below. Please note that different countries report anomalies with respect to different base periods. The information provided here is based directly upon these data:

  • Australia's nationally-average precipitation total for January 2019 was 49.2 mm (1.9 inches), which is 38% below average and the 21st driest January on record. All regions in Australia had below-average conditions, with Tasmania having the driest January in its 120-year record. Tasmania only received a total of 15.4 mm (0.6 inch) of precipitation or 80% below average precipitation.
  • Drier-than-average conditions were present across much of New Zealand during January 2019. According to New Zealand's NIWA National Climate Centre, Cape Reinga received only 4 mm (0.2 inch) of rain during the month, resulting in the second driest January since records for the station began in 1919. Meanwhile, the station in Masterton had a monthly precipitation total of 6 mm (0.2 inch)—the driest January since records began in 1926.
  • As shown in the maps above, parts of northern Argentina and southern Brazil had above-average precipitation totals during January 2019. Several locations set new precipitation records for January. Of note, the city of Resistencia had a total of 556.8 mm (21.9 inches). The city of Resistencia also set a new January 24-hour rainfall record when a total of 224 mm (8.8 inches) fell on January 8. The previous record of 206 mm (8.1 inches) was set in 1994.


Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Monthly Global Climate Report for January 2019, published online February 2019, retrieved on March 3, 2024 from https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/monitoring/monthly-report/global/201901.