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January 2020 hottest on record, EU climate monitoring system says

By Brooks Hays   |   Feb. 4, 2020 at 5:16 PM
January 2020 was the hottest January on record, according to the latest data from the European Union's Copernicus climate reporting service. Photo by EU/C3S

Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Last month was the hottest January on record, according to newly published data from the European Union's climate monitoring system.

Earlier this year, the Copernicus Climate Change Service, or C3S, determined 2019 was the second hottest year on record, bringing the streak of record-warm years to five in a row. According to the latest report from the Copernicus survey, 2020 is off to a record hot start.

According to the data, last month was 0.03 degrees Celsius warmer than January 2016, the hottest year on record. While the planet, as a whole, was only marginally hotter, some regions were significantly hotter.

"For Europe, it was the warmest January on record, about 0.2 degrees Celsius warmer than the previous warmest January in 2007, and 3.1 degrees Celsius warmer than the average January in the period 1981 to 2010," C3S reported.

January temperatures were also well above average across most of the Eastern United States and Canada.

The C3S survey works a bit differently than temperature tracking efforts managed by NASA and NOAA.

First, the service combines a multitude of data sources to model the daily weather in locations across the globe each day for the last several decades.

"These observations come from a variety of platforms or instruments, from weather stations to weather balloons and satellites," according to C3S.

This localized data offers an incomplete picture of global weather and climate. To produce a more complete picture, C3S climate scientists use a unique processing technique called "reanalysis" to stitch together a complete, hour-by-hour simulation of weather all over the globe.

"Once stitched together, these pictures of global weather conditions and atmospheric composition provide a comprehensive historical record of the Earth's climate that can be used to monitor how fast it is changing," according to C3S.

When researchers ran the model for January 2020, it was revealed as the hottest January on record.

The majority of climate scientists agree that record concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the result of human-caused emissions, are responsible for global warming.