Even though the East Coast has been experiencing unusually cold weather, the first month of 2014 actually saw record-breaking heat.
January's temperatures were the hottest for the month since 2007 and, with a combined global average of 54.8 degrees, this was the fourth warmest January since records began in 1880.
That's the word from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, which recently released an updated "State of the Climate" that includes the above map of temperature anomalies. Note cooler-than-normal patches in the eastern US, central Canada, Scandinavia, and a big hunk of Russia, which had country-scale temperatures 9 degrees below average. But the big story was heat, heat, heat, as NCDC explains:
During January 2014, most of the world's land areas experienced warmer-than-average temperatures, with the most notable departures from the 1981–2010 average across Alaska, western Canada, Greenland, Mongolia, southern Russia, and northern China, where the departure from average was +3°C (+5.4°F) or greater. Meanwhile, parts of southeastern Brazil and central and southern Africa experienced record warmth with temperature departures between 0.5°C to 1.5°C above the 1981–2010 average, contributing to the highest January Southern Hemisphere land temperature departure on record at 1.13°C (2.03°F) above the 20th century average. This was also the warmest month for the Southern Hemisphere land since September 2013 when temperatures were 1.23°C (2.21°F) above the 20th century average.