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Global land and ocean temperature anomalies 1880-2020

Temperature anomalies provide the difference from an average or baseline temperature. Positive anomalies show that the observed temperature was warmer than the baseline, whereas a negative anomaly indicates that the observed temperature was lower than baseline. Since the 1980s, annual temperature departure from the 20th century has been consistently positive. In 2020, the land and ocean surface temperature anomaly stood at 0.98 degrees Celsius. Temperature anomalies are generally more important in the study of climate change than absolute temperature. This is because when calculating average absolute temperatures, factors like station location and elevation may have critical impacts on absolute temperatures, but be less significant in anomaly calculations.

A warming planet

The past years were the warmest years on record, where warming was driven largely by increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Climate change is also evident in the warming ocean surface temperatures as well as the extent of sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere, which usually reaches its peak in December. Weather dynamics can affect regional temperatures and thus, the level of warming can vary around the world. For example, warming trends are most obvious in the Arctic region with the continued loss of sea ice.

Annual anomalies in global land and ocean surface temperature from 1880 to 2020, based on temperature departure

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Release date




Survey time period

1880 to 2020

Special properties

values are based on temperature difference from the 20th century average.

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Statistics on "Global climate change"

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