If the globe is still warming, then why are some locations not warming while others have experienced cooling?

January 23, 2014

The 1.5°F (0.85°C) warming is a change in the annual average temperature of the whole world. This warming is not uniform over the entire globe; nor are temperature increases expected to occur continuously. Differences in exposure to sunlight, cloud cover, atmospheric circulation patterns, aerosol concentrations, atmospheric humidity, land surface cover, etc., vary from place to place. These differences influence whether and how much a location is warming or cooling.

global map of temperatures in 2018 compared to average. Red areas were warmer than average, blue were cooler.

Temperatures in 2018 compared to the 1981-2010 average. Places that were up to 7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average are shades of red. Places that were up to 7 degrees cooler than average are shades of blue. Map is from our Data Snapshots collection, and is based on data from NCEI and processed by the NOAA Environmental Vizualization Lab.  


IPCC, 2013: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group 1 to the 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.