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History of Changes in the Earth’s Temperature

 

How Hot Has the World Got?

The earth’s average temperature rose by 0.8°C (1.5°F) during the last century. That change is in the mean global temperature that has been calculated for each year since 1880. The history of average global temperature is based on data gathered around the world at weather stations, on ships and by satellites.

These records clearly show that the first decade of the 21st century was the warmest since the 1880s, and the first decade that the earth’s average annual temperature rose above 14.5°C (58°F).

Temperature Change Since 1880

Despite the overall increase, global temperatures have not climbed steadily during the decades. The average global annual temperature hovered around 13.7°C (56.7°F) from the 1880s through the 1910s.

During the 1920s to 1940s, temperatures climbed about 0.1°C (0.18°F) each decade. Mean global temperatures then stabilized at roughly 14.0°C (57.2°F) until the 1980s.

The world has mainly grown hotter since 1980, at a rate of nearly 0.2°C (0.36°F) per decade. The annual global temperature from 2000 to 2009 was 0.61°C (1.1°F) higher than the average temperature for 1951 to 1980. If the current rate of increase continues, the world will warm by 2°C (3.6°F) in the next century.

Global Mean Annual Temperature
Average per Decade

Decade

°C

°F

1880s

13.73

56.71

1890s

13.75

56.74

1900s

13.74

56.73

1910s

13.72

56.70

1920s

13.83

56.89

1930s

13.96

57.12

1940s

14.04

57.26

1950s

13.98

57.16

1960s

13.99

57.18

1970s

14.00

57.20

1980s

14.18

57.52

1990s

14.31

57.76

2000s

14.51

58.12

Some Places Are Warming Faster

The global temperature values come from data collected around the world that were rolled together to calculate an average for the entire planet. What the global numbers don’t show is that temperatures have changed at different rates in different parts of the world. On a large scale, the amount of change depends upon whether a site is located on land or at sea, in the northern or southern hemisphere, and at a pole or the equator.

Air over land has historically warmed faster than the oceans. With water covering over 70% of the planet, sea surface temperatures dominate the global average.

The Northern Hemisphere has warmed faster than the Southern Hemisphere, and the entire Arctic has warmed faster than anywhere else in the world.

The northern polar region, above 64°N latitude, averaged 2.5°C (4.5°F) higher annual temperatures during 2000 to 2009 than in the 1880s.

Like the earth as a whole, most of the Arctic’s increase occurred during the last three decades. Near the North Pole, the mean annual temperature during 2000 to 2009 was 1.8°C (3.24°F) above the average temperature there for 1951 to 1980.

 

Map: Goddard Institute for Space Studies

About the Temperature Data

The temperature data are provided publicly by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), based in New York City. GISS has compiled and analyzed data from a thousand weather stations around the world, ship and satellite observations of sea temperatures, and measurements at Antarctic research stations to form a global temperature index. The annual averages go back in history only to 1880, when meteorologists began using modern scientific instruments to monitor temperatures precisely.

References

GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies). Surface Temperature Analysis. 2010.

James Hansen, Makiko Sato, Reto Ruedy, Ken Lo, David W. Lea and Martin Medina-Elizade. 2006.Global temperature change. PNAS.103(39): 14288–14293

 

2 Comments

  1. md jakaria says:

    This will be a warning of Humankind. So everyone should concern about this.

  2. Md. Istiac Ahmed says:

    Disputed island disappears beneath sea on India-Bangladesh border
    The island of New Moore, an uninhabited territory near the Bay of Bengal between India and Bangladesh, has vanished, according to Indian scientists.
    The island, located south of the Hariabhanga river, has been claimed by both Bangladesh and India for almost thirty years, since it first appeared in the seventies. The School of Oceanographic Studies in Calcutta commented that the disappearance of the island was confirmed by satellite imagery.
    “There’s no trace of the island anymore. After studying satellite images, I reconfirmed this from fishermen,” said Sugato Hazra, the director of Jadavpur University’s school of oceanography studies. According to the Times of India, the island only appears above the water surface if there is an unusually low tide. “What these two countries could not achieve from years of talking has been resolved by global warming.”
    Hazra commented that, until 2000, sea levels in the area increased approximately three millimetres annually, but in the past year the figure was augmented to about five millimetres. The director said that ten other islands in the vicinity of New Moore were in danger of being submerged as well.
    Hazra attributed the island’s disappearance to global warming, saying: “Coastal erosion and rising temperature in the Bay of Bengal between 2000 and 2009 led to the Purbasha island getting submerged. Temperature in the region has been rising at an annual rate of 0.4 degree celsius.”
    In 1996, another isle nearby, Lohachara, was submerged beneath the waters, displacing its inhabitants; meanwhile, the Ghoramara island had lost about half its land, Hazra said. “We will have ever larger numbers of people displaced from the Sunderbans as more island areas come under water.”
    According to officials, eighteen percent of the Bangladeshi coastal land will be submerged if sea levels increase by one metre by 2050, and twenty million people will be displaced.

    Sources
    • “Disputed island claimed by sea” — Al Jazeera, March 25, 2010
    • “New Moore isle no more, expert blames warming” — Times of India, March 25, 2010.

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