Five-Year Average Global Temperature Anomalies from 1880 to 2011

  • Released Friday, January 20, 2012
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The global average surface temperature in 2011 was the ninth warmest since 1880.The finding sustains a trend that has seen the 21st century experience nine of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York released an analysis of how temperatures around the globe in 2011 compared to the average global temperature from the mid-20th century. The comparison shows how Earth continues to experience higher temperatures than several decades ago. The average temperature around the globe in 2011 was 0.92 degrees F (0.51 C) higher than the mid-20th century baseline.

"We know the planet is absorbing more energy than it is emitting," said GISS director James E. Hansen. "So we are continuing to see a trend toward higher temperatures. Even with the cooling effects of a strong La Ni?a influence and low solar activity for the past several years, 2011 was one of the 10 warmest years on record."

The difference between 2011 and the warmest year in the GISS record (2010) is 0.22 degrees F (0.12 C). This underscores the emphasis scientists put on the long-term trend of global temperature rise as opposed to year-to-year variations. Because of the large natural variability of climate, scientists do not expect annual temperatures to rise consistently each year. However, they do expect a continuing temperature rise over decades. The first 11 years of the 21st century experienced notably higher temperatures compared to the middle and late 20th century, Hansen said.

For more information on the GISS temperature analysis, visit

Temperature difference colorbar.

Temperature difference colorbar.

This frame set and this movie of the five-year global temperature anomalies from 1880 through 2010 are made to be displayed on the Science On a Sphere display.

This frame set and this movie of the five-year global temperature anomalies from 1880 through 2010 are made to be displayed on the Science On a Sphere display.


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
Data provided by Robert B. Schmunk (NASA/GSFC GISS)

Release date

This page was originally published on Friday, January 20, 2012.
This page was last updated on Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at 12:01 AM EST.


This visualization can be found in the following series:

Papers used in this visualization

*Hansen, J., R. Ruedy, Mki. Sato, and K. Lo, 2010: Global surface temperature change. Rev. Geophys., 48, RG4004, doi:10.1029/2010RG000345.

Model documentation, including the ModelE specification and results from three standard configurations, is given in the following journal article:

* Schmidt, G.A., R. Ruedy, J.E. Hansen, I. Aleinov, N. Bell, M. Bauer, S. Bauer, B. Cairns, V. Canuto, Y. Cheng, A. Del Genio, G. Faluvegi, A.D. Friend, T.M. Hall, Y. Hu, M. Kelley, N.Y. Kiang, D. Koch, A.A. Lacis, J. Lerner, K.K. Lo, R.L. Miller, L. Nazarenko, V. Oinas, Ja. Perlwitz, Ju. Perlwitz, D. Rind, A. Romanou, G.L. Russell, Mki. Sato, D.T. Shindell, P.H. Stone, S. Sun, N. Tausnev, D. Thresher, and M.-S. Yao 2006. Present day atmospheric simulations using GISS ModelE: Comparison to in-situ, satellite and reanalysis data. J. Climate 19, 153-192.

Datasets used in this visualization

  • GISTEMP [GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP)]

    ID: 585
    Type: Model Sensor: GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP)

    The GISS Surface Temperature Analysis version 4 (GISTEMP v4) is an estimate of global surface temperature change. Graphs and tables are updated around the middle of every month using current data files from NOAA GHCN v4 (meteorological stations) and ERSST v5 (ocean areas), combined as described in our publications Hansen et al. (2010) and Lenssen et al. (2019).

    Credit: Lenssen, N., G. Schmidt, J. Hansen, M. Menne, A. Persin, R. Ruedy, and D. Zyss, 2019: Improvements in the GISTEMP uncertainty model. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 124, no. 12, 6307-6326, doi:10.1029/2018JD029522.

    This dataset can be found at:

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