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Last month was hottest January on record, US scientists say

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FILE - A Royal Australian Navy MRH-90 helicopter crew member looks out over fires burning near Cann River, Australia on Jan. 5, 2020. (PHOTO: Australian Department of Defence)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Last month was the hottest January since scientists began keeping temperature records in 1880, U.S. government forecasters said Thursday.

The global average land and ocean surface temperature in January was 2.05 degrees Fahrenheit (1.14 degrees Celsius) above the average January temperatures for the 20th century, because of the changing climate, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

In parts of Russia, Scandinavia and eastern Canada, temperatures exceeded the old averages by 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 C).

Warmer temperatures mean melting snow and ice. The extent of Arctic sea ice was 5.3% below the average from 1981-2010, and Antarctic sea ice was 9.8% below the average.

The hottest January after the second hottest year on record “is one of those indications that things are warming dramatically,” said University of Illinois climate scientist Don Wuebbles.

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