Watch 131 years of global temperatures in 26 seconds
- 31 Jan 2012, 11:20
- Christian Hunt
It's one thing knowing the planet has been warming at
0.13°C per decade for the last 50 years. It's another to
see it mapped out. Over the past 100 years, the planet has been
warming, and over the 26 seconds of this video, from
NASA, you can see what this sustained warming trend looks
The video also shows that warming is not uniform or consistent -
there are periods where parts of the world get cooler, and where
temperatures stand still for a while. When climate skeptics make
the argument that '
global warming has stopped' because temperature rise has slowed
in the last few years, they're relying on their audience not
knowing that temperatures can behave in all sorts of ways - because
of natural climate cycles, or things like volcanoes which cool the
planet by releasing sulfur into the atmosphere.
But here, despite the fluctuations, you can see the warming trend
quite clearly. In this animation of temperature data from
1880-2011, reds indicate temperatures higher than the average
during a baseline period of 1951-1980, while blues indicate lower
temperatures than the baseline average.
What appears obvious to the eye is also backed up by scientific
analysis - the world continues to warm. Scientists believe that
until we cut the amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
temperatures are almost certain to continue to rise.
The NASA results are also in close agreement with the other
major global temperature measurments, as you can see from this
comparison chart from the World Meteorological
Society. All the major
datasets show that the 2000's were the hottest decade on record
- a finding confirmed by last year's Berkeley Earth Surface