2016 kicks off with warmest January ever recorded

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Scientists confirmed Wednesday that last month was the warmest January since records began, continuing a nine-month streak of record-breaking monthly averages.

January’s global temperature of 55.5 degrees was about 1.9 degrees above the long-term average temperature for the month, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

That might not sound like much, but records typically are broken only by hundredths or tenths of degrees in climate science. Records go back to 1880.

The record-warm January followed in the footsteps of 2015, the warmest year on record. January also marked the ninth consecutive month to set a monthly global temperature record.

Last month was not only the warmest January ever recorded, it was also one of the most unusually warm months, NOAA said. Only one month logged a temperature farther above average — December 2015according to NOAA data.

A separate data set released Tuesday by NASA also reported January was record warm. Its slightly different data set found last month was the most unusually warm month on record, surpassing December 2015.