Air Temperature

Throughout January, abnormal warmth persisted in most of Russia. The only exception was the Far North-East where the weather was noticeably colder than normal in the first decade. Yet later on, the warmth triumphed over the cold even there. In January, unprecedented maxima of air temperature were recorded all over the paths from the western border to Chukotka and from the coasts of northern seas to the Caspian Sea. In some places, these maxima persevered for several days in succession. January temperature standards were overridden by 4-12° or more everywhere save the north-east of the country where they were met to some extent. As a result, January 2020 became the second warmest in the meteorological chronicle of Russia: its average temperature was surpassed only once, by about half a degree in January 2007. The temperature background in January on the Russian Plain was the most high-pitched in history. In the Central Federal District, the average temperature of January 2020 reached the absolute maximum and exceeded the previous record-breaking value of 2007 by almost one and a half degree: there, the monthly-averaged temperature of January was positive for the second time in the history of meteorological observations. In this district, the "crown of winter" turned out to be warmer than its predecessor, December, and just 0.4° colder than November. This January was the second warmest in history in the north-east of the country, in the Volga Region and in Siberia, and entered the Top Ten of warmest ones in the south and in the Urals.
The weather was mostly warm in East Asia. The average January temperatures in Mongolia, in the north of China, in Korea and in Japan were 2-4° above the normal values. The anomalies were approximately the same in the countries of South-East Asia as well.

In the centre and in the north of India, and in its neighbouring Pakistan, the weather was somewhat colder than usual. But the warmth won the cold in the south of the Hindustan Peninsula, to result in the anomalies of monthly-averaged air temperature reaching +2° or more in places.
Central Asia enjoyed very warm weather. The monthly-averaged air temperatures were 4-8° above the normal values in the north of Kazakhstan, and 2-4° above them in the south of the country and in other Central Asian republics. New temperature maxima were reported in Kazakhstan.
The warmth that spread all over Eurasia was backed by the Near East where the monthly-averaged air temperatures were also above-normal but to a less degree than in the other continental regions – roughly, by 1.0-1.5°. This month was colder than usual in the most distant western territories only (in the Levant countries and, partially, the Arabian Peninsula countries).
Likewise, the cold spread to the countries of North Africa. The anomalies of monthly-averaged air temperature were -2° or more in Algeria, and up to -1…-2° in Egypt and Sudan. In the remaining territories of North Africa, this temperature was about normal.
Everywhere in Europe, the temperature background was above normal: in excess of 1-3° in the west of the continent, 2-4° in its centre, and 4-8° in the east. New temperature maxima were reported in the countries of East and North Europe; in particular, they were reached in Minsk and Oslo. In Moldova, buds of fruit trees started to blossom which normally happens two months later. As for the whole continent, the average air temperature equated its record-breaking value recorded in 2007. January 2020 in Europe was warmer than December 2019.
In the North American continent, the weather was very warm excluding in the polar regions of Canada and in the US state of Alaska. Elsewhere in the USA, the monthly-averaged air temperature was 2-4° higher than the normal value, and 4-6° higher in the states adjacent to the Great Lakes. This January was the fourth warmest in the history of the country. The state of Alaska selected a different scenario: there, the weather was extremely cold with the anomalies of monthly-averaged temperatures reaching -4° in Anchorage, and -3° to -8° or lower across the state. Finally, this January became the coldest one in the XXI century for Alaska.
In Canada, the anomalies of air temperature during the month were +2…+6°. Yet, the invasions of Arctic cold were observed from time to time, and the thermometer readings dropped to values never recorded before. On the islands of the Northwest Territory, January was 1-2° colder than usual.
In Mexico, and all over Central America for that matter, the temperature was above the normal value, by 1-2° and more in some places.
Regarding the Northern Hemisphere as a whole, this January turned out to be the warmest in the 130-year history of regular meteorological observations on the Earth, outranking the previous record as of January 2016.
In Moscow, the monthly-averaged temperature in January was 0.0°, and the anomaly was +9.3°. It was the warmest January in the meteorological chronicle of the capital. For the first time, the monthly-averaged temperature was non-negative. The daily-averaged air temperatures never decreased below the normal values during the whole month, and on three occasions, reached new record-breaking values.

Ocean Surface Temperature

The mean SST anomaly of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans remained at the level of the previous month.
In the Pacific, large positive anomalies were observed at temperate latitudes in the central part of the Ocean and along the coast of the Asian continent. At the same time, the SST was below normal in the Sea of Okhotsk and partially in the Bering Sea. The neutral phase of the Southern Oscillation was still active.
In the Atlantic, abnormally warm water was also observed along the western coast of the Ocean. The SST was noticeably below the normal value in the Canary Current and in the north all along from Central America to Europe. The surface temperature was above-normal in the North and Baltic Seas on account of the warm January weather in the European continent.


In most of the Russian Territory, the monthly precipitation totals matched the normal value, or were somewhat above it. Heavy snowfalls were observed not only in Kamchatka where they are common in this time of year, but also in the south of Siberia (the Altai Territory, the Novosibirsk Region and the Republic of Tyva) as well as in the sough of the ETR (the Stavropol Territory, the Republics of Karachay-Cherkessia and Kalmykia, and the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus). In Altai, snow piles were above human height, and in the North Caucasus, the intensity of precipitation in the form of snow and rain could reach 30 mm per day. The monthly precipitation totals were much larger than normal in the Arkhangelsk and Murmansk Regions, the Republic of Karelia, the Perm Territory and Orenburg Region, the Republic of North Ossetia, the Tomsk and Novosibirsk Regions and the Altai Territory.
However, precipitation was scarce in certain constituent territories of the Federation. First of all, this concerns the territories in the sough of the Far East. Less than half of the normal monthly precipitation amount was recorded in the Khabarovsk and Primorye Territories and in the Amur and Sakhalin Regions. The same picture was observed in some areas of the Trans-Baikal and of the Irkutsk Region, and in the Republic of Khakassia.
Little precipitation in January went to China and Mongolia, and about their normal value, to Korea and Japan.
Consistent with the local climate, torrential rains harrowed Indonesia in January. They caused large-scale spates, landslides and floods. These disasters claimed dozens of human lives. According to the meteorological service of Indonesia, no rains of such intensity have been observed for more than 160 years in Jakarta, the capital of the country.
In most of India, the weather was dry, but in its north and in neighbouring Pakistan, a lot of rains fell, and the normal precipitation amounts were exceeded by 1.5 or more times.
Heavy snowfalls took place in the countries of Central Asia. In Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan, no such abundance of snow has been seen for more than fifty years in January. The normal monthly figures were exceeded by 2-3 times in some places of the country. Snow pounced upon the mountainous regions of Tajikistan as well. Heavy rains were observed in the southern Middle Asia republics of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, amounting to 1.5 times their normal quantities in places.
In the considerable part of the Near East, the weather was dry. In Israel, a number of heavy showers occurred in the first half of the month, with about 70 mm of daily precipitation reported in Tel Aviv. According to the Israeli meteorological service, these showers brought more than 450 mm of rainwater to the north of the country; in winter, this previously happened two times only: in December 1951 and in January 1969. The same showers flooded Dubai, the capital of the UAE, summing up to more than 75 mm of precipitation for three days. The resulting floods demanded a temporary shutdown of the airport. A snowstorm in the northern regions of Saudi Arabia covered sand barchans with a white blanket. Climatologists point at a steady increase of winter precipitation in this region.
In Africa, almost no rains were observed apart from the coastal regions of the Gulf of Guinea and the Mediterranean Sea.
In most of Europe, dry weather prevailed in January, with the exception of Spain and the northern countries of the continent. In the first case, heavy rains flooded the Mediterranean coast. In Catalonia, the monthly precipitation totals exceeded the normal values by 1.5-2.0 times, and in continental Spain, wet snow quite close to Madrid silvered the ground for a while. In the second case, snowfalls descended upon Finland, Sweden and Estonia where daily precipitation maxima were recorded.
Snowstorms and showers covered the USA several times in January, causing floods and fatalities. The normal precipitation totals were exceeded in a large part of the country: by 2-3 times or more in the east, in the states of Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois, Arkansas and Tennessee, and by two or more times along the western coast. In Canada, the main precipitation amounts went to central regions of the country where they matched or exceeded the normal value, while in the provinces adjacent to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, scarce precipitation was observed. However, there were exceptions to that. Thus, the snowstorm hit Newfoundland in the middle of the month and brought almost 30 mm of daily precipitation there. Snow piles grew to more than a metre height in just several days.
In Moscow, the total monthly precipitation amount was 54 mm, which a little more than the normal value. The sky was often completely overcast. As for the whole month of January, the sun shone over the capital for eleven hours only, i.e., three times less than normal. Such "greediness" of the luminary was observed for the first time in the XXI century.