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Keywords:

  • global temperature;
  • temperature analysis;
  • climate change;
  • global change;
  • El Niño-La Niña

[1] We update the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) analysis of global surface temperature change, compare alternative analyses, and address questions about perception and reality of global warming. Satellite-observed night lights are used to identify measurement stations located in extreme darkness and adjust temperature trends of urban and periurban stations for nonclimatic factors, verifying that urban effects on analyzed global change are small. Because the GISS analysis combines available sea surface temperature records with meteorological station measurements, we test alternative choices for the ocean data, showing that global temperature change is sensitive to estimated temperature change in polar regions where observations are limited. We use simple 12 month (and n × 12) running means to improve the information content in our temperature graphs. Contrary to a popular misconception, the rate of warming has not declined. Global temperature is rising as fast in the past decade as in the prior 2 decades, despite year-to-year fluctuations associated with the El Niño-La Niña cycle of tropical ocean temperature. Record high global 12 month running mean temperature for the period with instrumental data was reached in 2010.