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Record-Shattering Global Warm Temperatures in 2015

Record-Shattering Global Warm Temperatures in 2015

Earth’s 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).


Globally-averaged temperatures in 2015 shattered the previous mark set in 2014 by 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit (0.13 Celsius). Only once before, in 1998, has the new record been greater than the old record by this much.

The 2015 temperatures continue a long-term warming trend, according to analyses by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. NOAA scientists concur with the finding that 2015 was the warmest year on record based on separate, independent analyses of the data.


Since the late-19th century, the planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. This change is largely driven by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.

An important thing to remember when reading this information is that it reflects global temperature average. That means that specific regions or areas could have experienced colder weather than usual, but overall the global temperature has risen.

Record-Shattering Global Warm Temperatures in 2015

How do we know? Our 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.

What about El Niño? Phenomena such as El Niño or La Niña, which warm or cool the tropical Pacific Ocean, can contribute to short-term variations in global average temperature. Last year’s temperatures had an assist from a warming El Niño, but it is the cumulative effect of the long-term trend that has resulted in the record warming that we’re seeing.

The full 2015 surface temperature data set and the complete methodology used to make the temperature calculation are available HERE.

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