Warmest January Ever Puts 2020 on Track as One of Top 10 Hottest Years

“It may only be February, but 2020 is already “virtually certain” to be among the 10 warmest years on record, and has nearly a 50 percent chance of being the warmest ever, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday.

The predictions follow a January that was the warmest ever in 141 years of record keeping, Karin Gleason, a climatologist with the National Centers for Environmental Information, said in a conference call. Global average temperatures last month were 2.05 degrees Fahrenheit (1.14 degrees Celsius) above average, slightly higher than in January 2016, the previous record-holder.

In comparing this year with previous years, Ms. Gleason said, one way to look at it is “we completed the first lap in a 12-lap race, and we are in the lead.””

Henry Fountain reports for the New York Times February 20, 2020.