NASA Releases Temp Data for 2018

February 7, 2019


Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2018 were the fourth warmest since 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Global temperatures in 2018 were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.83 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. Globally, 2018’s temperatures rank behind those of 2016, 2017 and 2015. The past five years are, collectively, the warmest years in the modern record.

“2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend,” said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt.

Since the 1880s, the average global surface temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius). This warming has been driven in large part by increased emissions into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases caused by human activities, according to Schmidt.

Weather dynamics often affect regional temperatures, so not every region on Earth experienced similar amounts of warming. NOAA found the 2018 annual mean temperature for the contiguous 48 United States was the 14th warmest on record.

Warming trends are strongest in the Arctic region, where 2018 saw the continued loss of sea ice. In addition, mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets continued to contribute to sea level rise. Increasing temperatures can also contribute to longer fire seasons and some extreme weather events, according to Schmidt.

“The impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt — in coastal flooding, heat waves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change,” said Schmidt.

NASA’s temperature analyses incorporate surface temperature measurements from 6,300 weather stations, ship- and buoy-based observations of sea surface temperatures, and temperature measurements from Antarctic research stations.

These raw measurements are analyzed using an algorithm that considers the varied spacing of temperature stations around the globe and urban heat island effects that could skew the conclusions. These calculations produce the global average temperature deviations from the baseline period of 1951 to 1980.

Because weather station locations and measurement practices change over time, the interpretation of specific year-to-year global mean temperature differences has some uncertainties. Taking this into account, NASA estimates that 2018’s global mean change is accurate to within 0.1 degree Fahrenheit, with a 95 percent certainty level.

NOAA scientists used much of the same raw temperature data, but with a different baseline period and different interpolation into the Earth’s polar and other data poor regions. NOAA’s analysis found 2018 global temperatures were 1.42 degrees Fahrenheit (0.79 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century average.

NASA’s full 2018 surface temperature data set — and the complete methodology used to make the temperature calculation — are available at:



6 Responses to “NASA Releases Temp Data for 2018”

  1. Gingerbaker Says:

    Hey, we are cooling! Break out the champagne!

  2. A Thorpe Says:

    How do you calculate an average temperature of the earth’s surface that means anything? Take two containers of water with equal amount and at different temperatures. Calculate the average. Now mix them and measure the temperature. It will be the same as the average in this special case. Now do the same, but freeze the water in one container and then add the two. When the temperature has reached equilibrium it will not be the same as before. This is because of latent heat. An average temperature of the sea at the equator and the ice at the poles can be calculated but means nothing. It means nothing in relation to the climate system because climate is not determined by the surface temperature of the earth.

    • grindupbaker Says:

      The average temperature of the Earth’s surface/air does highly affect the climate system. For one thing the average temperature of the top few metres of the ocean determines how much water vapour will be in Earth’s atmosphere, which determines the rate of Earth’s hydrologic cycle (approx. 1,500,000,000,000 tonnes H2O / day). The hydrologic cycle rate determines the rate at which water must return to the tropical oceans where it came from (and between the tropical oceans) which affects ocean currents. These changes in the ocean surface waters’ average temperature which you dismiss so lightly cause changes in the minor portion of Earth’s area, the land, because air laden with H2O moves between oceans & land. Earth’s average ice & snow cover is affected greatly by the average sea surface temperature (SST), and significant changes in ice & snow cover in the Arctic region are causing large changes in the Jet Stream which is highly affecting the climate system of some land regions in the northern hemisphere, so there is clearly no merit in your thought that you are typing.

      Average temperature anomaly is used rather than average temperature because temperature anomaly measurement is far more accurate than temperature measurement. Also, average temperature has interpretation issues such as whether it is better adjusted to sea level altitude globally and whether the Arctic Ocean should be considered to oscillate between land and ocean.

    • grindupbaker Says:

      Quote: “An average temperature of the sea at the equator and the ice at the poles can be calculated but means nothing”. A power flux of approx. 100 w/m**2 is carried from the tropics to the high northern latitudes. This is a huge quantity. A portion of this is clearly seen in the Barents Sea. To state that an increase in this huge power flux “means nothing” is itself meaningless. I think that you actually meant to point out that the colour-coded pictorial showing the huge rates of surface/air temperature increase for some regions and the lesser rates elsewhere and the “cold blob” is more informative than the overall GMST increase so that should always be shown alongside any GMST anomaly plot. That’s not a bad idea but the issue is that regional land area temperature change measurements become increasingly uncertain prior to approx. 1950 AD. You made a point about the great usefulness of that colour-coded pictorial showing the huge rates of surface/air temperature increase for some regions but you phrased it poorly.

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