January 2022 Temperature Update

The following is a summary of global temperature conditions in Berkeley Earth’s analysis of January 2022.

  • January 2022 was the 6th warmest January since records began in 1850.
  • Warm conditions occurred over parts of Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.
  • Unusually cool conditions were present in parts of North America and the equatorial Pacific.
  • La Niña conditions are present and are likely to keep 2022 cooler than recent record years.
  • 2022 is nearly certain to be one of the top ten warmest years, but unlikely to be a new warmest year (only a ~10% chance of a new record).

Notice: Due to persistent delays with the HadSST ocean data normally used by Berkeley Earth, this update uses ocean data from Copernicus. See the discussion at the end for further information.

Global Summary

Globally, January 2022 has been the sixth warmest January since records began in 1850. This January is notably cooler than Januarys in 2016, 2017, and 2020, though it is similar to other recent years. In particular, 2022 is not significantly different from 2021. Both 2021 and 2022 began with La Niña conditions, which tend to slightly reduce global average temperatures.

The global mean temperature in January 2022 was 0.93 ± 0.08 °C (1.68 ± 0.14 °F) above the 1951 to 1980 average.

This is equivalent to being 1.27 ± 0.09 °C (2.28 ± 0.16 °F) above the 1850 to 1900 average, which is frequently used as a benchmark for the preindustrial period.

The global mean temperature anomaly in January 2022 was slightly warmer than December 2021, but similar to many other recent months. Temperatures in January were somewhat below the long-term trend line but consistent with natural variability, and in particular, with the effect of the ongoing La Niña conditions.

Spatial Variation

January 2021 continues the ongoing pattern of wide-spread warmth, though with some notable exceptions. Particularly warm conditions were present in most of Asia, as well as parts of North America, Europe, and South America. Particularly cool conditions were present in other parts of North America as well as the Eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.

The warmth across Asia is particularly prominent on our maps. However, due to its geography, Asia often experiences larger weather variations in winter than most other regions. Despite having some of the largest temperature anomalies presently observed, most of Asia did not experience record warmth in January, and the average across Asia was only the 3rd warmest for January.

The warmth in southern South America, occurring during local summer, was in some ways more remarkable. January included an extreme heat wave that broke many local and national all-time temperature records in this part of the world.

We estimate that 3.9% of the Earth’s surface experienced their locally warmest January average, and 70% of the Earth’s surface was significantly warm when compared to their local average during the period 1951 to 1980. In addition, 0.01% on Earth’s surface had their locally coldest January.

The cool area in the Eastern Pacific, is consistent with the ongoing La Niña conditions.

Over land regions, 2022 was the 8th warmest January, coming in as 1.41 ± 0.09 °C (2.54 ± 0.16 °F) above the 1951 to 1980 average.

January 2022 was the 5th warmest January in the oceans, recorded as 0.65 ± 0.09 °C (1.17 ± 0.17 °F) above the 1951 to 1980 average.

La Niña

January 2022 showed moderate La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean. The La Niña phenomenon, associated with relatively cool water in the Eastern equatorial Pacific, is a form of seasonal weather variability that is generally associated with cooler global average temperatures. The current La Niña event is expected to continue for at least a few more months. The CPC/IRI analysis suggests that neutral conditions may return this summer though with a high degree of uncertainty regarding timing and future conditions.

Predictions of future sea surface temperatures in the core ENSO region from IRI/CPC.

Rest of 2022

The ongoing La Niña event makes it likely that 2022 will be cooler than recent record warm years; however, 2022 is nearly certain to remain within the top ten warmest years overall. If La Niña dissipates, the annual average might be expected to warm some during the latter half of 2022 compared to the first half of the year, but the full year is unlikely to challenge the previous record warm years.

The statistical approach that we use, looking at conditions in January and prior months, believes that 2022 is most likely to be the 4th or 5th warmest year in the instrumental record, with about a 50% chance of one of these outcomes. There is a small chance (10%) that the remainder of 2022 warms enough to be a record warm year. It is very unlikely that 2022 will be any cooler than the 8th warmest, which means that this year is very likely to still surpass all years prior to 2015.

Likelihood of final 2022 ranking:

  • 1st place (10%)
    • Top 3 overall (23%)
  • 4th place (31%)
  • 5th place (22%)
  • 6th, 7th, or 8th place (23%)
    • Top 8 overall (99%)


The Berkeley Earth global temperature data set is ordinarily a combination of Berkeley Earth land surface temperature data and an interpolated ocean sea surface temperature field derived from the HadSST4 data set. The HadSST data set is built upon multiple third-party data collections of direct ocean temperature measurements from ships, buoys, and other platforms. During most of 2021, HadSST updates were frequently subject to delays of weeks or months due to delays in the third-party data sources that it relied on. Due to these delays, Berkeley Earth updates have also been frequently delayed.

Due to the ongoing pattern of delays, we have taken the unusual step of releasing this monthly temperature report using an alternative set of sea surface temperature data. The data set adopted for this purpose is the sea surface temperature data from the Copernicus ERA5 reanalysis. This alternative data is only used for January during which HadSST4 is not yet available. The ERA5 data has been reprocessed to make it more similar to the resolution of our previous analysis and local anomaly baselines have adjusted to match the 1980 to 2021 period in HadSST4.

We believe that this substitute data should provide a good indication of current global ocean conditions.

However, due to difference between ERA5 and HadSST4, we do observe more small-scale variation in the data processed this way and estimates of temperature ranks for assessing local records may sometimes be unreliable in the ocean. In addition, we have increased the reported uncertainty on the ocean averages to include an estimate of the systematic differences between HadSST4 and ERA5.

Though we have adopted ERA5 ocean data for these reports in order to provide timely temperature updates, the gridded data sets appearing on the Berkeley Earth website will continue to use only HadSST as described in the associated documentation. As a result, updates to some of the gridded data sets are likely to continue to be delayed.

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