GISS Surface Temperature Analysis

This site provides a useful set of graphical representations of mean temperature change in different land/ocean surfaces over the past 120+ years.

Go To:

NASA

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Educators can have students download the data to graph in Excel.

Discuss the meaning of "temperature anomaly."

Use one graph to describe to students (or ask them) what a running 5-year average means and why that is used on these graphs to illustrate trends in the data.

Two graphs show the dramatic differences between latitudinal bands (the band between 23.6 to 90 degrees N has been warming much faster than the rest of the globe since the 1970s, which could lead to discussion of Arctic amplification from decreased albedo due to loss of sea ice) and hemispheres (Northern Hemisphere has been warming much faster than the Southern Hemisphere since about 1990, which could lead to discussion of the southern oceans as a heat sink).