January 2024 Selected Climate Anomalies and Events Map

Temperature

Coinciding with the release of the January 2024 Global Climate Report, the NOAA Global Surface Temperature (NOAAGlobalTemp) dataset version 6.0.0 replaced version 5.1.0. This new version incorporates an artificial neural network (ANN) method to improve the spatial interporlation of monthly land surface air temperatures. The period of record (1850-present) and complete global coverage remain the same as in the previous version of NOAAGlobalTemp. While anomalies and ranks might differ slightly from what was reported previously, the main conclusions regarding global climate change are very similar to the previous version. Please see our Commonly Asked Questions Document and web story for additional information.

NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information calculates the global temperature anomaly every month based on preliminary data generated from authoritative datasets of temperature observations from around the globe. The major dataset, NOAAGlobalTemp version 6.0.0, updated in 2024, uses comprehensive data collections of increased global area coverage over both land and ocean surfaces. NOAAGlobalTempv6.0.0 is a reconstructed dataset, meaning that the entire period of record is recalculated each month with new data. Based on those new calculations, the new historical data can bring about updates to previously reported values. These factors, together, mean that calculations from the past may be superseded by the most recent data and can affect the numbers reported in the monthly climate reports. The most current reconstruction analysis is always considered the most representative and precise of the climate system, and it is publicly available through Climate at a Glance.


January 2024

The January global surface temperature was 1.27°C (2.29°F) above the 20th-century average of 12.2°C (54.0°F), making it the warmest January on record. This was 0.04°C (0.07°F) above the previous record from January 2016. January 2024 marked the 48th-consecutive January and since March 1979 with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th-century average.

January saw a record-high monthly global ocean surface temperature for the 10th consecutive month. El Niño conditions that emerged in June 2023 continued into January, and according to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center it is likely that El Niño will transition to ENSO-neutral by April-June 2024 (79% chance), with increasing odds of La Niña developing in June-August 2024 (55% chance).

The Northern Hemisphere had its warmest January on record at 1.70°C (3.06°F) above average. This surpassed the previous record set in 2016 by 0.04°C (0.07°F). Land temperature was third highest on record while ocean temperature was record-high by a wide margin (0.24°C/0.43°F) for the Northern Hemisphere this January. The Arctic region had its 15th-warmest January on record.

January 2024 in the Southern Hemisphere also ranked warmest on record at 0.84°C (1.51°F) above average. While the average ocean-only temperature for January in the Southern Hemisphere ranked highest on record this January, land-only temperature was 15th warmest on record. Meanwhile, the Antarctic region had its fifth-coldest January.

A smoothed map of blended land and sea surface temperature anomalies is also available.

Temperatures were above average throughout the Arctic, most of northeastern North America, central Russia, southern Asia, Africa, South America, and Australia. Sea surface temperatures were above average across much of the northern, western, and equatorial Pacific Ocean as well as parts of the western Indian Ocean. Much of the central Atlantic Ocean was record warm for the month. Record-warm temperatures covered approximately 12.3% of the world's surface this January, which was the highest percentage for January since the start of records in 1951 and 2.5% higher than the previous record of 9.8% in 2016.

Much of northwestern North America, the central and southern United States, northern and northeastern Europe, northeastern Asia and Antarctica experienced near-to cooler-than-average temperatures during January. Sea surface temperatures were near to below average over parts of the southeastern Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and southwestern Indian Ocean. Less than 1% of the world's surface had a record-cold January.

South America and Africa both had their warmest January on record.

January 2024 ranked third warmest on record for Oceania and Australia while Asia ranked ninth warmest, Europe 19th warmest and North America 20th warmest on record.

  • On 28 January, Archfary (Sutherland) Scotland, experienced its hottest January day on record (19.9C/67.8F), which was also a record for the hottest winter day in Scotland and the warmest January day on record in the UK.
  • Sweden was colder than average for the fourth consecutive month in January and began the month with temperatures that were the coldest observed since 1999.
January Ranks and Records
JanuaryAnomalyRank
(out of 175 years)
Records
°C°FYear(s)°C°F
Global
Land+1.82+3.28Warmest3rd2016, 2020+1.97+3.55
Coolest173rd1861-1.33-2.39
Ties: 2007
Ocean+1.03+1.85Warmest1st2024+1.03+1.85
Coolest175th1917-0.55-0.99
Land and Ocean+1.27+2.29Warmest1st2024+1.27+2.29
Coolest175th1909-0.67-1.21
Northern Hemisphere
Land+2.34+4.21Warmest3rd2016+2.49+4.48
Coolest173rd1887-1.69-3.04
Ocean+1.23+2.21Warmest1st2024+1.23+2.21
Coolest175th1917-0.53-0.95
Land and Ocean+1.70+3.06Warmest1st2024+1.70+3.06
Coolest175th1887, 1893-0.93-1.67
Southern Hemisphere
Land+0.66+1.19Warmest15th2005+1.06+1.91
Coolest161st1904-0.96-1.73
Ocean+0.89+1.60Warmest1st2024+0.89+1.60
Coolest175th1917-0.56-1.01
Land and Ocean+0.84+1.51Warmest1st2024+0.84+1.51
Coolest175th1904-0.53-0.95
Antarctic
Land and Ocean-0.59-1.06Warmest171st1977+1.01+1.82
Coolest5th1962-0.84-1.51
Arctic
Land and Ocean+2.66+4.79Warmest15th2016+4.96+8.93
Coolest161st1894, 1918-2.90-5.22

500 mb maps

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 map—is generally reflected by areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies at the surface, respectively.

hgtanomaly-global-202401.png

Precipitation

The maps shown below represent land-only precipitation anomalies and land-only percent of normal precipitation based on the GHCN dataset of land surface stations.

January 2024

Above-average January precipitation occurred across the West Coast and eastern U.S., eastern Brazil, much of central and eastern Europe, parts of eastern Asia and Australia. Precipitation was below average from southern Canada to the central U.S., Mexico, Central America, northern and western South America, southern Europe, northern and western Africa, and parts of southwestern and eastern Asia.

Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP)

The following analysis is based upon the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) Interim Climate Data Record. It is provided courtesy of the GPCP Principal Investigator team at the University of Maryland.

January Highlights:
  • The El Niño rainfall anomaly pattern over the central and western Pacific Ocean and Maritime Continent has weakened.
  • Further afield the patterns over the Indian Ocean, Africa and the southern U.S. are more clearly El Niño-like.
  • Overall the pattern correlation between this January’s rainfall anomaly pattern and the El Niño composite plummeted from a high of +0.59 last month to only +0.19.
  • Global total precipitation for this January is nearly a record high following December’s record high for that month of the year.

For January the main large-scale precipitation features continue to shift southward with the seasons, but with the ITCZs in the Pacific and Atlantic remaining just above the Equator (see Fig. 1, top panel). Over tropical land (Africa, South America) the broad tropical maxima move further with the seasons to be significantly south of the Equator. The tilted storm tracks of the Northern Hemisphere are evident over the oceans impinging on the northwest coasts of North America and Europe. In the Southern Hemisphere NW-SE oriented precipitation features begin at lower latitudes and stretch southeastward, eventually meeting up with the circumpolar precipitation band at about 50-60°S.

The current El Niño continues through January, but the anomaly fields (Fig. 1, middle and bottom panels) show a mixed pattern, with some rainfall excess/deficit features typical of El Niño situations and others differing form the expected pattern. In the central and eastern Pacific along the ITCZ there is still a narrow, strong positive anomaly as typical of El Niño, with a rainfall deficit just to the north and south. One can compare this January’s anomaly map with the El Niño composite for January in Fig. 2. But just to the west the wide positive feature expected at ~180° longitude at the Equator is weak this month, despite the Niño 3.4 Index being +1.9, easily within strong El Niño range. The match between this January and the El Niño composite becomes even more fraught over the Maritime Continent to the west where generally very dry conditions are typical of El Niño, but rainfall is in excess over Borneo and Malaysia, although deficit features exist over some surrounding areas, especially between Sumatra and Australia. Australia itself is typically very dry during El Niño’s (see Fig. 2), but for this January it is mostly wetter than normal across the continent and there was even flooding first in Victoria and then heavy rains in northern and northeastern parts of the country later in the month. Northern South America is mostly dry as is typical of El Niño, but the rest of the pattern does not match well. The spatial correlation of January’s anomaly pattern with the El Niño composite in Fig. 2 has plummeted to +0.19 from a high of +0.59 in December, seemingly indicating a weakening of El Niño at core tropical locations. It will be interesting to see if that type of change continues next month, or if this is a temporary change. Models are predicting an end to the El Niño over the next few months.

However, further out from these “central” ENSO areas that seem to be loosening their connection to the El Niño, there is a better match between this month’s anomalies and the typical El Niño pattern. The January pattern closely matches the El Niño composite over the Indian Ocean and Africa. A intense positive anomaly in the southwest Indian Ocean was associated with multiple tropical cyclones tracking from the Madagascar region southeastward during the month. The pattern over southern Africa also fits with heavy rains and some flooding over east-central Africa and dry conditions to the south and over the Congo. Eastern China also had surplus moisture as expected for El Niño.

Over North America, where El Niño conditions are usually associated with surplus precipitation across the southern U.S., that expectation was generally met with some flooding along the Texas/Louisiana coast, and in the west, with a brief period of heavy rains and flooding in San Diego. In general, mountain snowpacks are still below normal. [Early February 2024 has added heavy rains and mountain snowfall from California through the mountain southwest.] Across Central America dry conditions match with El Niño and help exasperate low water situations in the Panama Canal that slowed shipping. Colombia also suffered from wildfires.

Across Europe a spotted pattern existed during January. Cyclonic storms hit the UK and France resulting in bouts of heavy rain and flooding, along with high winds. However, further south generally dry conditions continued, with the state of Catalonia in northeast Spain declaring a drought emergency.

In terms of global total precipitation for this January the El Niño has still pushed the totals near the record for January, only matched or slightly exceeded by conditions during the 2015-16 El Niño. Relative peaks occurred over both land and ocean with a global estimated for the month of 2.81 mm/day, with an anomaly from the January climatology of +.09 mm/day.

Background discussion of long-term means, variations and trends of global precipitation can be found in Adler et al. (2017), and with comparison with climate models in Gu and Adler (2022). The Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) monthly data set is a long-term (1979-present) analysis (Adler et al., 2018) using a combination of satellite and gauge information. An interim GPCP analysis completed within ~10 days of the end of the month allows the use of the GPCP analysis in climate monitoring and for this discussion.


References

  • Adler, R., G. Gu, M. Sapiano, J. Wang, G. Huffman 2017. Global Precipitation: Means, Variations and Trends During the Satellite Era (1979-2014). Surveys in Geophysics 38: 679-699, doi:10.1007/s10712-017-9416-4
  • Adler, R., M. Sapiano, G. Huffman, J. Wang, G. Gu, D. Bolvin, L. Chiu, U. Schneider, A. Becker, E. Nelkin, P. Xie, R. Ferraro, D. Shin, 2018. The Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) Monthly Analysis (New Version 2.3) and a Review of 2017 Global Precipitation. Atmosphere. 9(4), 138; doi:10.3390/atmos9040138
  • Gu, G., and R. Adler, 2022. Observed Variability and Trends in Global Precipitation During 1979-2020. Climate Dynamics, doi:10.1007/s00382-022-06567-9
  • Huang, B., Peter W. Thorne, et. al, 2017: Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature version 5 (ERSSTv5), Upgrades, validations, and intercomparisons. J. Climate, doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0836.1
  • Huang, B., V.F. Banzon, E. Freeman, J. Lawrimore, W. Liu, T.C. Peterson, T.M. Smith, P.W. Thorne, S.D. Woodruff, and H-M. Zhang, 2016: Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature Version 4 (ERSST.v4). Part I: Upgrades and Intercomparisons. J. Climate, 28, 911-930, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00006.1.
  • Menne, M. J., C. N. Williams, B.E. Gleason, J. J Rennie, and J. H. Lawrimore, 2018: The Global Historical Climatology Network Monthly Temperature Dataset, Version 4. J. Climate, in press. https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0094.1.
  • Peterson, T.C. and R.S. Vose, 1997: An Overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network Database. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 78, 2837-2849.
  • Vose, R., B. Huang, X. Yin, D. Arndt, D. R. Easterling, J. H. Lawrimore, M. J. Menne, A. Sanchez-Lugo, and H. M. Zhang, 2021. Implementing Full Spatial Coverage in NOAA's Global Temperature Analysis. Geophysical Research Letters 48(10), e2020GL090873; doi:10.1029/2020gl090873.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Monthly Global Climate Report for January 2024, published online February 2024, retrieved on March 3, 2024 from https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/monitoring/monthly-report/global/202401.