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From a bird's eye view, 1995 was an average year for global temperatures, marked by a sudden, late-year cooling trend. From the ground, it was one of the hottest years on record.

Using microwave sounding units on NOAA satellites, atmospheric scientist John Christy and colleagues at the University of Alabama-Huntsville's Earth System Science Lab found that the average global temperature (from the surface to 6-km elevation) for 1995 was 0.027°C above “normal.” Normal is defined as the average of temperatures from 1981 to 1991. According to Christy, 1995 was the eighth warmest year at the surface since satellite temperature data were first collected, in 1979. However, temperatures over the northern hemisphere plummeted 0.7°C from November to December, the largest 1-month hemispheric change on record. The previous record was a 0.51°C warming trend over the southern hemisphere in September–October 1984.