We’re starting the year in force, according to data published Tuesday by Copernicus, the European Union’s climate change monitoring agency. January 2020, they explain, showed the highest average temperatures of any January on record.
“Last month the global temperature was warmer than any previous January in this data record, although almost on par with January 2016 (at 0.03°C warmer),” the agency said in a statement.
For Europe, it was about 0.2ºC warmer than the previous warmest January in 2007, and 3.1°C warmer than the average January in the period 1981-2010, the statement adds.
Large areas of north-eastern Europe recorded especially-high temperatures above the 1981-2010 January average, in some areas by more than 6°C. While the Carpathian Basin and several areas of southern Europe experienced temperatures “a little below normal” on average, mean temperatures in January were higher above the 1981-2010 average over most of Europe.
It has to be said by this point that 2019 put a wrap to the warmest decade on record to date; it was also the second-warmest year since recordkeeping began.
Copernicus used 2016 as a comparison because, until now, it held the unenviable title of ‘warmest year ever’. Still, average temperatures in 2016 were pushed up by a powerful El Niño — which 2019 didn’t have.