January 2020 was Earth’s warmest on record


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – When you average out global land and ocean surface temperatures, January 2020 was 2.05 degrees Fahrenheit above average, making it the warmest January in 141 years of climate records.

But was it the warmest January on record for Middle Tennessee? The answer is no, but it was still warmer than average.

During the month of January, we had 24 days that were above average with only 5 below average days in Nashville. This makes January 2020 the 17th warmest, clocking in at 7.3 degrees above average. The warmest January on record happened all the way back in 1880.

It was the 5th warmest January for the lower 48 as a whole and severe weather was the result. Jan 11- Jan 12 brought an outbreak of 79 tornadoes. Nine of those tornadoes touched down in Southern Kentucky in both Trigg and Christian Counties.

It wasn’t just warmer than average here in Middle Tennessee, other parts of the globe experienced far above average temperatures. The hotspots were Russia, Scandinavia, and Eastern Canada. All of which had temperatures running 9 degrees above average.

Usually, El Niño plays a role when it comes to above-average global temperatures, and this was the case in January 2016 the previous warmest January on record.

This year, there was no El Niño to impact global temperatures. The above-average temperatures of January 2020 enhanced natural disasters in countries like Australia.

Photo: Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning in Gippsland, Australia

Australia had both record high temperatures and drought to contend with, both of which contributed to the devastating bush fires that killed 34 people and destroyed 5,900 buildings. Hot temperatures and drought make it harder to fight fires.

January also marked the 421st consecutive month of warmer than average global temperatures. It’s unlikely that this trend of warmer than average temperatures will come to an end any time soon.

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