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Left in the cold: World warmed to fourth hottest January on record as eastern US chilled out

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WASHINGTON - The globe cozied up to the fourth warmest January on record this year, essentially leaving just the eastern half of the United States out in the cold.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Thursday that Earth was 1.17 degrees warmer last month than the 20th century average. Since records began in 1880, only 2002, 2003 and 2007 started off warmer than this year.

Almost all of Africa, South America and Australia and most of Asia and Europe were considerably warmer than normal. China and France had their second warmest Januaries. Land in the entire Southern Hemisphere was hottest for January on record.

While more than half of America shivered last month, it was one of the few populated spots on Earth cooler than normal.

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