Global Temperature by the Numbers

The Year

4th Hottest

2018 was the fourth hottest year since modern recordkeeping began. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration work together to track temperatures around the world and study how they change from year to year. For decades, the overall global temperature has been increasing.

Over the long term, world temperatures are warming, but each individual year is affected by things like El Niño ocean patterns and specific weather events.

1.5 degrees

Globally, Earth’s temperature was more than 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the average from 1951 to 1980.

The Record

139 years

Since 1880, we can put together a consistent record of temperatures around the planet and see that it was much colder in the late-19th century. Before 1880, uncertainties in tracking global temperatures were too large. Temperatures have increased even faster since the 1970s, the result of increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Five Hottest

The last five years have been the hottest in the modern record.

6,300 Individual Observations

Scientists from NASA use data from 6,300 weather stations and Antarctic research stations, together with ship- and buoy-based observations of sea surface temperatures to track global temperatures.

The Consequences

605,830 swimming pools

As the planet warms, polar ice is melting at an accelerated rate. The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets lost about 605,830 Olympic swimming pools (400 billion gallons) of water between 1993 and 2016.

8 inches

Melting ice raises sea levels around the world. While ice melts into the ocean, heat also causes the water to expand. Since 1880, sea levels around the world have risen approximately 8 inches.

71,189 acres burned

One symptom of the warmer climate is that fire seasons burn hotter and longer. In 2018, wildfires burned more than 71,189 acres in the U.S. alone.

46% increase in CO2 levels

CO2 levels have increased 46 percent since the late 19th Century, which is a dominant factor causing global warming.