2021 saw Malta’s warmest January since 1923, and Earth’s sixth warmest

At 25.8 degrees Celsius, Malta set new record for highest temperature in January

Nice weather, but unusually warm for a winter month
Nice weather, but unusually warm for a winter month

Just as in the rest of the globe, the warming plant spares nobody: the highest air temperature in January in Malta was recorded just nine days into the month, when the mercury hit 25.8°C, surpassing the previous record high for the month by 3°C.

This means the maximum air temperature became the new highest temperature for January on the Maltese islands since 1923.

Globally, it was the sixth warmest January, joint with 2018, at 0.24°C above the 1991-2020 average (0.43°C above the 1981-2010 average).

For parts of North America, Greenland and over the Arctic Ocean, temperatures were much above average, whereas Siberia saw much colder than average conditions. Europe as a whole saw temperatures close to the 1991-2020 average, with colder than average temperatures over the west and the north, especially over southern Norway and central Sweden, and warmer than average temperatures over the southeast.

Back to Malta, January’s hottest day was followed by an overcast Sunday, which was marked by a complete absence of sunshine. However, having gone over the sunshine quota for January by almost 14 hours, a total of 176.3 sunshine hours measured during the month certainly made up for this bleak day. Additionally, the cloud cover for January averaged at 4.2 oktas rather than the climate norm of 4.4 oktas.

Apart from being drier than the climate norm, the month was also warmer than expected at this time of year. Averaging at 14.1°C, the air temperature for the month surpassed the climate norm by 1.4°C, while the mean sea surface temperature exceeded the norm of 15.8°C by 1.3°C.