United Nations Environment Programme

Observed Climate Trends

Vital Climate Graphics : Observed Climate Trends
Next: Precipitation changes: trend over land from 1900 to 1994

16.jpg - 35713 Bytes

15. The figure shows the combined land-surface air and sea surface temperatures (degrees Centigrade) 1861 to 1998, relative to the average temperature between 1961 and 1990

.The mean global surface temperature has increased by about 0.3 to 0.6°C since the late 19th century and by about 0.2 to 0.3°C over the last 40 years, which is the period with most reliable data. Recent years have been among the warmest since 1860 - the period for which instrumental records are available.

Warming is evident in both sea surface and land-based surface air temperatures. Urbanization in general and desertification could have contributed only a small fraction of the overall global warming, although urbanization may have been an important influence in some regions. Indirect indicators such as borehole temperatures and glacier shrinkage provide independent support for the observed warming. It should also be noted that the warming has not been globally uniform. The recent warming has been greatest between 40°N and 70°N latitude, though some areas such as the North Atlantic Ocean have cooled in the recent decades.

  Next: Precipitation changes: trend over land from 1900 to 1994
Vital Climate Graphics : Observed Climate Trends

GRID-Arendal United Nations Environment Programme / GRID-Arendal
Text and graphics may be reproduced in whole or in part and in any form
for educational or non-profit purposes, provided that credit is given to the source.