Last month was the hottest January in recorded history, with newly released data showing a worldwide rise in temperatures that is raising concerns about the acceleration of climate change.
Data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that the average temperatures across the world’s land and ocean surfaces were the highest in the 141 years that records have been kept, The Guardian reported. The report noted that the first month of 2020 followed much the same pattern of the previous year, which was the second-hottest on record since the start of reliable measurements. The warming trend extends back further as well, with the last five years and decade being measured as the hottest in 150 years of record-keeping, the report added.
Per the report, the warming trend brought unusually high temperatures to some areas normally very cold in January.
“A pulse of unusual warmth was felt across much of Russia, Scandinavia and eastern Canada, where temperatures were an incredible 9F (5C) above average, or higher. The Swedish town of Örebro reached 10.3C, its hottest January temperature since 1858, while Boston experienced its hottest ever January day, at 23C (74F).”
During January, the continent of Antarctica recorded its highest-ever temperature, rising all the way up to 68 degrees. As The Guardian noted, the record-setting temperature raised fears of the instability that has come from climate change. Across the continent, researchers have observed that glaciers are retreating, and as a result, some wildlife native to Antarctica have been on the decline, including chinstrap penguins that live on the glaciers.
Much of the melting has been seen in the western portion of Antarctica, but scientists said there are signs that it could be spreading as temperatures continue to rise.
“It is important to have sentinel areas like the South Shetlands and the Antarctic peninsula because they can anticipate the developments that will happen in the future, the near future,” Carlos Schaefer, a researcher on a Brazilian government project in Antarctica, told The Guardian.
“We are seeing the warming trend in many of the sites we are monitoring, but we have never seen anything like this,” Schaefer said.
Climate change was also considered a major contributing factor of wildfires that spread across Australia during the month, many of which took weeks to extinguish. As The Inquisitr reported, it was not until early February that the last of the fires were officially put out, as summer rains ended the drought that had struck the country.