IRI Home
IRI Climate Digest   February 2001

January Global Climate Summary

Climatological Background  In January, mid-summer monsoon systems are usually at their peak in the Southern Hemisphere over southern Africa, Australia and Indonesia, and South America. In the Northern Hemisphere deep winter has set in, with strong north-south temperature differences driving the mid-latitude jet stream  and storm systems.

Monthly Mean Temperature (1961-1990), data from the Climate Research Unit, University of East Anglia
Click for options and more information

Monthly Mean Precipitation (1961-1990), data from the Climate Research Unit, University of East Anglia
Click for options and more information

Temperatures Over Land

Unusually warm conditions persisted across much of Europe for the fourth consecutive month while an unseasonably cold winter continued across eastern Asia.  Much of Canada and the east-central United States saw an abrupt shift to above average temperatures during January.

Europe:  Temperatures continued above average across most of the region with departures of over 6 C in eastern Scandinavia.
Asia:  Unseasonably cold from the east of the Urals eastward to the Sea of Okhotsk.  Temperatures dropped to as low as -50 C in sections of Mongolia and Siberia.  Temperatures were well above average across central China southward to Indonesia.
Africa:  In a pattern similar to that of last month,  warmer than average conditions continued along coastal regions of West and North Africa.
Australia:  Above average temperatures prevailed across most of southern Australia.  Temperatures were as much as 5 C above average across South Australia into New South Wales.
North America:  Temperatures increased dramatically over west-central Canada from the previous month with departures of over 10 C to the east of the Canadian Rockies.  Above average temperatures were also seen across the north-central United States.

Temperature Difference from the 1961-1990 mean, with data from NCEP Climate Prediction Center, CAMS.
Click for options and more information


Continued wet across the western Iberian Peninsula.  Drier conditions brought relief to an unusually wet rainy season in eastern Australia.

Europe:  Above average rainfall from northern Portugal to western France.  Unusually wet from north-central Italy eastward to Yugoslavia.
Africa:  Beneficial rainfall was above average across southern Kenya, Tanzania and much of the southern Congo Basin.  Rainfall totals were below average from Botswana and Zimbabwe southward into northern South Africa.
Australia:  Rainfall was above average mainly along coastal regions of Western Australia and the Northern Territory.  Drier than average conditions brought relief to previously flooded regions of Queensland.
South America:  Above average rainfall across much of northern Brazil and northern Bolivia.  Above average rainfall was also seen across northern Argentina.  Northeast Brazil was unusually dry.
North America:  Below average rainfall was observed across most of the eastern United States. 

Precipitation Difference from 1961-1990 mean, with data from NCEP Climate Prediction Center, CAMS-OPI.
Click for options and more information

Oceanic Conditions

Tropics:  The weak La Nina conditions in the central and eastern Pacific continued although the area extent of below average sea surface temperatures decreased from the previous month.  Ocean temperatures warmed somewhat over the western Pacific while cooling was observed across the central Indian Ocean. 
Midlatitudes:  Above average water temperatures persisted to the south of Australia and in the central South Atlantic.  No major changes were observed in the North Atlantic and Pacific oceans from December.

Monthly Sea Surface Temperature Difference from the 1950-1979 mean, with data from the Environmental Modeling Center, NCEP/NOAA.
Click for options and more information

Material for this Global Climate Summary has been extracted from the IRI Climate Data Library, the NOAA NCEP Climate Prediction Center, the Climate Diagnostics Center, and the NOAA ERL Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratories. Additional information has been obtained from the Bureau of Meteorology, Australia, and CPTEC, Brazil.

Contents | Special | Impacts | Climate | Forecast