January 16, 2015

History of Earth's temperature since 1880

Temperatures measured on land and at sea for more than a century show that Earth's globally averaged surface temperature is experiencing a long-term warming trend. Though warming has not been uniform across the planet, more areas are warming than cooling.

This animation shows Earth’s surface temperature from 1880-2014 compared to the 20th-Century Average. The maps and graph are based on the MLOST data from the NOAA National Climatic Data Center. The imagery is also available in NOAA View.

Since 1976, every year including 2014 has had an average global temperature warmer than the long-term average. Over this 37-year period, temperature warmed at an average of 0.50 °F (0.28 °C) per decade over land and 0.20 °F (0.11 °C) per decade over the ocean.

For the last 50 years, global temperature rose at an average rate of about 0.13°C (around one-quarter degree Fahrenheit) per decade-almost twice as fast as the 0.07°C per decade increase observed over the previous half-century. In the next 20 years, scientists project that global average temperature will rise by around 0.2°C (about one-third of a degree Fahrenheit) per decade.