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Watch 131 Years of Global Warming in 26 Seconds

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Watch 131 Years of Global Warming in 26 Seconds

While temperatures soared for many this summer, this video takes the longer historical view. It comes to us from our friends at NASA and is an amazing 26-second animation depicting how temperatures around the globe have warmed since 1880. That year is what scientists call the beginning of the “modern record.”

You’ll note an acceleration of those temperatures in the late 1970s as greenhouse gas emissions from energy production increased worldwide and clean air laws reduced emissions of pollutants that had a cooling effect on the climate, and thus were masking some of the global warming signal.

The data come from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, which monitors global surface temperatures. As NASA notes, “in this animation, reds indicate temperatures higher than the average during a baseline period of 1951-1980, while blues indicate lower temperatures than the baseline average.” 


By Dan Cass (Melbourne, Australia)
on January 31st, 2012

Very good visual communication.

It might even get through to some of the anti-climate science extremists!

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By Lyn Ford (Brisbane, Australia)
on January 31st, 2012

Been reading a few books in the last few years, which incorporate millions of years of global change - but not only weather.  While there is no doubt that it’s happened before, although often due to catastrophic extinction type events, this is certainly very quick by previous standards. Possibly the best thing in humankind favour is that we are very adaptable, and also have the ability to adapt, to a certain extent, the natural events which have happened like this. Having said that, certainly looks like we, as homo sapiens, need to get our fingers out.

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By Brian Cabaniss (Roanoke, VA 24018)
on February 2nd, 2012

That’s purty, but it’s just a scam by them peoples up thar in lab coats that want me to buy them curly light bulbs and make me git one of dem pick-up trucks that you gotta plug in. I betcha they’re the same ones tryin’ to tell me the Earth is older than 6000 years old. I aint fallin’ for it.

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By dan in illinois
on February 3rd, 2012

Okay, here’s a question.  If the warmest years on record were in the 1930s, which I’ve seen widely reported, then why does this map show that period as relatively cool?  Here’s another question: Was the data that was used to create these temperature maps adjusted to account for the considerable rise in temperatures that has occurred at the temperature recording sites due to the pavement and other urban structures at those sites?

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By Andrew
on February 3rd, 2012

Dan in Illinois:

Good question. The 1930s were very warm in the US but were not the warmest years on record globally. As for data adjustments, this data comes from NASA GISS surface temperature record, which does include adjustments due to urban heat island. Note, however, that many studies have shown that the urban heat island is not responsible for the warming trend seen in global surface temperature data, and instead the station siting issues have been very small compared to other influences on temperatures, including emissions of greenhouse gases.

Some links to studies:;jsessionid=F13B5DAB299D34D9340678316455A9C1.d02t01<2941:AOUVRI>2.0.CO;2

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By Jamie Grover (Santa Cruz)
on February 3rd, 2012

Wow, it would seem there are some real fools out there trying to put there own spin on this. What would it take guys? Do you need to accompany the scientists when they retrieve the dusty records from the archives?

I expect they are the same people who can’t accept reality in any any number respects.

Gore certainly had it right when he called this truth inconvenient.

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By Kerry Dean (Monroe City)
on February 5th, 2012

You have got to be kidding, the guy above thinks the world is 6000 years old. Stupid get an education other than sunday school.  And say hi to your talking snake. lol

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By Tricia Schwartz (Andover, MA 01810)
on February 7th, 2012

I think that he was being facetious.

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By Mike Johnson (Ipswich, MA 01938)
on February 7th, 2012

Indeed.  It was sarcasm.  Lighten up.

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By Chip Atkison (Denver, Co 80236)
on February 11th, 2012

Brian from VA.  had it right, as in Republican / Tea Party / Right wing fascism / Neo Nazis / God will save us all, views that are constantly jammed down the Fixed News and “Conservative” party “news” outlets that feed the fear that Boener, Limbaugh, Kantor, Beck, Gingrich, Santorum, Romney, Paul spoon feed their dominions.

Nice farcical view Brian

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By Nathan (Leipzig / Sachsen / 04105)
on February 14th, 2012

Question: Admitting that a general warming trend can be observed with our planet, to what extent do anthropogenic activities represent the cause? How direct is the influence the human race has on this phenomenon?

Of course the combustion of fossil carbonates such as coal and oil is changing the makeup of our atmosphere. But developments in our sun could also be partially responsible. Maybe we could assign the respective share of responsibility as 50 / 50?  75 / 25?

The relatively new information we have from satellite imaging is great, but now we also have the additional task of finding proper interpretations to develop a realistic view.

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By Little Loowey
on February 15th, 2012

Why is there no sound?!

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By Tom Pedersen (Victoria/BC)
on February 23rd, 2012

A very minor quibble: Not sure if anyone else has pointed this out, but my arithmetic puts the 1884 to 2011 interval as being 127 years, not 131 as in your heading.

it is a beautiful compilation and has an immense impact on audiences to whom I’ve shown it. Well done NASA, and good on you for promoting it on your site.

Tom Pedersen, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, University of Victoria.

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By Dave (NY)
on February 28th, 2012

I can prove this thing is wrong. Look up various large volcanic eruptions and correlate them to the years in the video. You’ll find no difference in the heat or lack of heat graphics. For example, the Iceland eruptions in 2010 and 2011. The timeline shows a continued heating despite the fact that millions of tons of particles floated over to Europe for months. If pollution particle reduction can cause the 70’s to look cooler, then volcanic clouds laden with all sorts of ash should produce a very similar effect. There should be a clearly defined path from Iceland to europe in 2010 and 2011 with the entire globe looking less heated.

Here’s a few other large eruptions and dates.

May 8, 1902, Mount Pelée, on the island of Martinique
1902 Santa Maria Guatemala
1903 Changbaishan China/N korea
June 6th, 1912 Novarupta Alaska
1925-1928 - Greece
June 1991 Mount Pinatubo Philippines

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By d
on March 14th, 2012

Keep in mind this comes from GISS where James Hansen resides.  Caution :  data was probably omited, adjusted, and manipulated.

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By Robert L. King (Saint Petersburg, Florida)
on March 14th, 2012

A friend and myself were having a cold drink of tea the other day at the flea market catching the side show entertainment.  I asked the vendor, “fill it up low on the ice”.  My friend didn’t care, so here we be, sitting there drinking our teas, my friend with his ice packed 16oz, me with my low iced 16oz.  Meanwhile I happened to be beating the drum for the typical sea level rise mentality croud down his throat, me not being the scientific kind of guy I always wanted to be, just didn’t have the education, but I had a boat load of inconvenient truth to peddle.  After about an hour, i had finished my tea and he hadn’t taken a sip.  I told him, “hey you better drink your tea before the ice melts”... his reply “are you afraid the glass will over-flow”?  I shut up after that. But then how would I know, I’m no expert at least I was willing to admit I could be wrong he might be right.  Does anybody really know. Can mankind really overcome the laws of nature by his actions? Ask yourself how do you destroy WATER, ICE, CLOUDS, how do you create more WATER, ICE, CLOUDS?

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By Andrew Duckmanton (Surry Hills, NSW Australia)
on March 14th, 2012

First, i’m a climate change realist meaning I agree it is happening and I also agree man is accelerating the change.

That said, i find this a really concerning & strange bit of propaganda primarily driven by the use of colour. If you look at the ‘key’ for what the map is trying to demonstrate it is noted as Temperature Difference with a variation of -2 degrees being shown by (guess what) blue and +  2 degress being conveniently highlight by yellow to red. At no stage do we know what the 0 degrees refers to nor are we told what the variations refer to, how they were measured (ie old equipment, new equipment etc) how much time between measurements and more importantly the article doesn’t even try and untangle any of this but refers to how ‘cold’ it used to be and how ‘hot’ it is clearly becoming - it then throws a bit of NASAness into the argument and QED, clearly it is irrefutable

but here’s the rub, we ain’t getting any smarter or informed here all that is happening is we all get sucked in emotionally to the hot/cold debate via colour association…

we are clearly angry and get all hot under the collar by seeing blue (cold) change to red (hot) and we take away that man is destroying the planet, you should see how hot it has become, how much things need to change etc etc and at no stage does anyone sit back and educate us on what the map is referring to with regard to Temperature Difference.

I am not a scientist but i do believe we are being very alarmist in the way we communicate things we want people to buy into, we make the argument scary and absolute to prove a point vs understanding we are all here and it is us that will be eradicated so we better heave together and try to work out our differences first as unless that happens we are toast regardless.

I believe there is a lot of merit in the discussion around the sun’s influence, it is the only thing that casts warmth, light, radiation and gravity upon our little spot in the universe - without it we wouldn’t exist so may we need to look more at it’s influence as well as ours and get to a happy understanding.

Either way, alienating or railroading others to prove a point has NEVER been successful in the enormous 50,000 years of man’s time on this world - maybe we need to change from presentations like this to collaboration and understanding to change our world, how we use it and the impact we have…

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By Russ Gaulin (Winchendon/MA/01475)
on March 15th, 2012

Nathan in Leipzig,

another good question.. determining how much warming is due to human burning of fossil carbon, v. other causes, is referred to as “attribution” studies, and there have been many.  In fact, in the case of greenhouse gases, the physics were discovered first, which led to the prediction that CO2 (and other trace gases) would actually cause the average temperature of the atmosphere to increase.  This is one of the most studied phenomena of modern science.  The best indication that the additional carbon in the air (as measured continually, Google “Keeling Curve” at Mauna Loa, HI) comes from human fuel burning is the ratio of plant-favored carbon to carbon that comes from geologic weathering.  The oil and coal is from plants, and it is the plant-based portion of CO2 that is rapidly increasing. 

Also, the computer models (often ridiculed by people who don’t understand them) have been reliably showing that past temperature changes can’t be explained without adding in the carbon from fossil fuels, but if forcing from that source are included, we get a very good match with what has actually occurred.  Sun studies show very small changes that can’t account for the global temperature changes, and the fact that the upper atmosphere (stratosphere) is cooling while the lower atmosphere (troposphere)  is warming is strong evidence that the sun is not the cause.

Dave in NY,

large volcanic eruptions do cause cooling either regionally or globally, for a short time, and the effect is visible on more detailed line graphs of the temperature record.  Those may not be noticeable on the animation because there is averaging over both time and space in the process that made the video.  Remember, you can’t get all the detail of over a hundred years in 26 seconds! Mt. Pinatubo eruption caused a very distinct blip world-wide, for example.  The “aerosols” produced apparently had the same effect as our industrialization in the mid-20th century, reflecting some incoming sunlight and helping to temporarily counteract the warming by CO2.  This is all becoming increasingly clear as time goes on and science has examined pretty much every angle and idea that have come up to explain our climate to ourselves.  There is still some “uncertainty” about future timelines for warming, and various other aspects, but it too is getting smaller as we methodically answer these questions with research.

I heartily recommend that you read “The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism” from the Skeptical Science web site.  It is basic, but there are lots of more detailed science citations in there if you are interested in learning more.  There is no excuse for not knowing about any subject in the age of Google for those who are interested, but you need the ability to distinguish a good source from a dubious one.

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By Dave Thayer (Williams, AZ 86046)
on March 15th, 2012

Good points, Andrew. But keep in mind that 2 degrees of heat is a lot—it is enough to cause significant and costly sea level change—and that is only a century’s worth. Among scientists there is really no hot/cold debate—it is just pseudo-scientists hired by Republicans with money in oil who want to use the earth’s resources as they like, for short term gain a la Easter Island. Excuse me, but I would rather believe a very large majority of scientists than Rush Limbaugh.

One huge problem is that non-scientists put in their two cents worth after a few moments of conjecture—no offence, but your comment about the sun—no decades of hard work on that one, eh? Then they weigh their own lazy scenario against that of the many people who did the actual work of gathering a century of data. Yes, these people could be wrong, but who are you going to believe when the sea starts rising like they said it would?

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By Walt (Berlin, Wisconsin 54923)
on March 15th, 2012

The number of spins that people can put on this is always amusing, particularly those of the Type II error variety - where people fail to understand the false nature of the false null hypothesis. It is sometimes called the problem of over-skepticism (the null hypothesis is that humans are not causing the warming) and is nowadays largely supported by heavily vested financial interests (which of course would never lie to us - and “obviously” never have). With humans largely driving the warming (and this has been obvious for a while) it’s possible to record changing concentrations of gases, and individually test their transmission/reflection of heat to make predictions about how much effect there is, which is what climate modelers do. Problem with that is that things haven’t been warming as fast as they should be. A few years ago a group studying the effect of particulate pollutants found that their effect was about 10X the amount that modelers had expected. That effect, called global dimming when people began to understand it, canceled out half of the warming. So we are not seeing as much as we should be seeing, and this has fooled people for a while. It isn’t now, but even climate scientists don’t want to talk about it very much because of the ramifications, even though various linear thinkers (engineers) have proposed spraying chemicals in the stratosphere to reduce the warming effect (geo-engineering) which is a terrible idea, for many reasons.

I get a kick out of people who make note of the obvious fact that melting the Arctic Ice will not cause sea-levels to rise, because of course it won’t. Notice how “hot” the far north is. The fact that the meters-thick, multi-year ice may be gone, leaving thin annual ice forming every year to melt again in summer will not have not have an effect on sea-levels but no climate scientist ever said it did. There is a video on youtube called “A Climate Minute” which shows the annual melting and freezing photographed by a military satellite that senses ice thickness. The really thick ice is nearly gone and it doesn’t do anything to sea-levels.

However, one of the vids that pops up on the right when viewing “A Climate Minute” shows a Greenpeace representative talking with a media-hack about the melting Arctic Ice warning. The Arctic Ice is the ice that floats on the sea and it’s almost gone, just like climate scientists have warned. However the idea of sea-levels rising is related to ice that is on land melting and that ice is in Greenland and Antarctica, and both of these will take a very long time because there is so much of it even if things get really hot. So while discussing the warning about Arctic ice melting, the media hack switches definitions of Arctic Ice and includes Greenland Ice to point out how the “Arctic Ice” (by new definition used only by him) cannot melt in a few years. Mr Greenpeace doesn’t notice the bait-and-switch on geography and just claims that “NASA says” it’s going to be gone. Then you see hundreds of comments from nattering nitwits blowing wind about how climate scientists are constantly lying to everyone. No, the problem was that the media hack (mediot) and Greenpeace do-gooder were geographically challenged, and the n.n. crowd have a problem with gullibility. This is also why climate scientists do not pay attention to the n.n. crowd.

Apparently this video must be lying to us because it didn’t show cooling of the North Atlantic with the eruption of the Iceland volcano. If you are sensing water surface temperatures per year you might not see as much on cooling on water as on land because water takes a lot longer to yield its heat. There is a slightly cool trail on land over southern Europe when compared to northern Europe which was quite a lot warmer. However, somebody would have to get out actual temperature records to challenge the map so it’s much more convenient to just assume it’s a lie because “they” lie to us all the time. We really don’t want to come to terms with reality. Then we would incur responsibilities.

Of course we can assume that people want to control us by the use of the colors. On these maps 0 degrees is the mean for the area being colored for the last 131 years. Thus the map starts out mostly blue because it WILL be less than the mean. Of course we could lighten the colors so we won’t have to worry, so much. And oh yes, there is the problem of the data and non-uniformity of collection which climate scientists have been dealing with, which is the typical last stand of a losing argument. Yes, those sea temperatures come from the British Naval vessels which had a wooden bucket that sat out on the deck for 20 minutes (or was it 30?) before having a thermometer stuck in it. People have re-created all those methods to find out how they relate to modern satellite sensing. Even the study funded by the Koch brothers done at the University of California by skeptics (the Berkeley Study) came to the conclusion that what we are being told by the climate researchers is true - a true shock to the system to those who have bought into the type II error. The most interesting part of their result, which got almost no media attention, was that they showed an even greater change since 1800 than most of the climate scientists use. Oops! What a waste of potentially good lobbying or public relations money that was.

And when you see the long term North American weather maps for this year and see that cold spot over the Pacific and in the Pacific northwest of the USA and Canada, just remember those pollution plumes that stretch from China all the way across the Pacific to North America. I guess that all those trade treaties that job-jacked the working class did have a good effect - they helped keep the Pacific cool which will mean that the “world” temperature won’t rise so much this year - so we’re safe. But the blue colors on this video mean that the sea temperatures are below the average for the last 131 years and if China ever cleans up their pollution act, we could have some real fun but it won’t involve skiing.

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By jeff Olson (Vancouver Island Canada)
on March 15th, 2012

On the other side of the world a man awoke and wondered how much oxygen there is in the atmosphere. His brain calculated the rate of atmospheric carbon production divided by the supply of coal. He concluded that there was not enough air to burn all the coal. He was not happy with this conclusion to his mental exercise.

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By Tom Shearin (Lexington KY 40502)
on March 15th, 2012

To Nathan and Andrew:

The question of the sun’s influence is an important one, and it has been studied.

The sun’s energy output reaching the upper atmosphere, as measured by satellites since 1979, shows an 11 year cycle, but no net increase, i.e., no trend that would explain the observed changes in surface temperature.  See the graphic on page 20 and accompanying references in the report “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States” from the U.S. Global Change Research program. (This report has a nice, quick summary of the evidence and can be downloaded from “”.)

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By John (hoboken)
on March 15th, 2012

This is a bunch of lies. Climate change is not happening.

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By Michael T in NC
on March 16th, 2012

After reading some of these comments, it seems that some people don’t realize that this map is showing a 5-year rolling average of the temperature data. This is why it begins with 1884 instead of 1880. Here is a link to the NASA website where these animations can be found including explanation of these maps:

From there it states:

“The NASA/GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio has in recent years created animations based on the GISTEMP dataset following the end of the calendar year. The most recent animation available was released in January 2012 and shows the five-year mean anomaly of surface temperature for 1880 through 2011. The means are five-year rolling averages, such that the animation begins with the 1880-1884 global surface temperature anomaly, advances in one year increments, and ends with the 2006-2010 anomaly.”

So when 2011 data is inlcuded, as the above video shows, the animation ends with the 5-year average 2007-2011. By using a 5-year rolling average, instead of annual averages, this can help to minimize the year to year temperature variability (noise) associated with ENSO (El Nino/La Nina) and large volcanic eruptions like Pinatubo in 1991.

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By Edward Nigma
on March 19th, 2012

Less Talk, More Action.

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By keith (thompson mb)
on March 20th, 2012

Radiation increase in ozone to surface due to nuclear reactors distributing into atmosphere along with industrial expansions and stack’s emission’s to stratosphere as well as all vehicle emission’s as well as expansion in dwelling’s that emit heat also in contribution of a warming affect on the globe the extraction of oil which helps to cool earth and refining of crude to be consumed in engine’s which also create heat this will only get worse unless we go green and reverse this aggression toward’s fuel oil consumption we must create more oxygen as we are losing plant life and forest which help cool the earth with there shade and emission of oxygen as well as loss of carbon dioxide consumption through loss of natural plant’s.

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By Ben Whelan (Costa Rica)
on March 27th, 2012

Nice work - adding a link to my new site!

Check out our film - Odyssey 2050 - Tackling climate change….

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By Tom Kunek
on March 28th, 2012

This video is a scam. Can’t believe people believe it to be true. I can understand how such a video could be produced from the time NASA had satellite records from 1979 but before that there was only land based records and half of the records were in the USA. How the hell did they produce temperatures over 100 years ago to anywhere near the accuracy depicted. Such global temperature records simply do not exist to produce a video as shown. Probably produced via some unvalidated algorithm.

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By john (Phoenix, Arizona 85048)
on April 1st, 2012

I’d like to see the data from the 1880’s through the 1950’s and how significant that data is relative to the technology and data collection we have today.  Also, what is used as the baseline for the graphical representation of “temperature difference” i.e. relative to what?

Science is a great and wonderful endeavor, however I think we often times regard our intellect so grandious that we forget that we cannot possibly know and control everything.  The size of our planet relative to the mass of human beings is enormous and somewhat beyond comprehension for most.  Assuming the data is correct, is it merely assumed in correlation to the growth of population and the consumption of natural resources that this is the direct cause for warming of our planet?  We can look at events and statistics and numbers and correlate these to the warming of our planet, without once considering the fact that perhaps we are dead wrong and the planet is merely going through one of it’s normal cycles? 

I liken this argument to the doomsday movies where suddenly everyone is in total chaos and running around crazy and the “government” is searching for ways to fix the problem, albeit completely out of their realm of capability.  Al Gore’s inconvienient truth is that he wanted to create another industry / revenue stream that would bolster his political clout and all the while make people more responsible environmentally.  I believe in being environmentally conscious, but I do think this global warming is mythical in terms of it’s direct cause and planetary impact.

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By Itsall Tuna (Baltimore, MD 21228)
on June 24th, 2012

Wow!! such lengthy and learned comments, the likes I’ve never seen before in any online comment forum.  The pros and cons of whether humans are responsible or not, whether the globe is in just another of many cyclic warming/cooling intervals.  The fools and the pundits alike miss the critical question: What are we going to do about the changes that come?  Will we survive and will there be wide spread starvation, displacement, poverty, disease wrought upon mankind as a result of the changes? Whatever comes, it will settle into a New Equilibrium as postulated in the Principle of Imminent Collapse.  That equilibrium surely won’t support 8 billion people or more, and maybe not the 7 we have today.

Far better it would be to put our massive intellect to the task of surviving whatever comes than arguing about who is responsible for the problem.  “When things go terrible wrong, there is only one person to blame and that is each other.”~ Trixie.

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By Mysticdog (Albuquerque, NM 87112)
on June 25th, 2012

The scientific endeavor starts assuming no one can know everything. It is built on a massive system of peer review to keep bad science from becoming accepted science. You may resent them because they actually do know more than you, though. We are a very anti-intellectual society, in spite of the fact that it is because of scientists that we live so well at all.

The size of the planet is huge. The size of the biosphere is also very small in comparison. If you take a very sharp pencil and draw a circle for the outline of the planet on a standard 8"x11” piece of paper, the biosphere is still thinner than that line. Likewise, the atmosphere is even less massive, and yet so critical to life. A little change makes a huge difference over time.

You can go look up the IR absorption spectra of O2, N2 and CO2 online. CO2 absorbs a lot more. O2 and N2 almost none. This is just basic spectrometric chemistry. More molecular bonds equals more ways for their vibrations to absorb IR light.

If you increase the concentration of a light absorber, it absorbs more light. Also just very basic, easily proven experiments. If you take a box of air and shine an IR light through it, it will pick up more heat the more CO2 is in it. Again, a very easy to do, easy to control, and easy to reproduce experiment.

We know that we are taking carbon that has been sequestered underground for millions of years and burning it. We know what those reaction products are; mostly CO2. We know that the amount of CO2 measured in our atmosphere has increased proportionately to the amount of fossil fuels we burn. We can measure it, and we have, and it has been measured for over 100 years. We know we have made it almost 50% greater than it was when we started measuring it. We know no volcanos have had a appreciable effect on CO2 in the atmosphere in that time; it would take a disasterous number of volcanos to have such an effect. Also, the cooling effect of volcanic particles overwhelms the relatively small amount of CO2 generated by them.

We even know fairly well how long it takes for natural systems to resequester the CO2. There is an equilibrium that our world evolved to. We are destroying that equilibrium.

You can believe what you want to believe. The evidence is real though. The science is real. If it is beyond your capacity to grasp it, or to want to grasp it, that is your choice, but your opinion and belief are wrong, and if enough people continue believing as you do, it will be disasterously wrong, probably within your lifetime.

Al Gore is not the source of global warming. He is just a man with the public presence and intelligence to talk about it. Scientists don’t like playing with the media and politics, because you have to deal with so many stupid, unreasonable people when you get into that world. Scientists are used to discussing ideas on the facts and merits; politics and the media have little interest in those things.

But, even if it was just a plot by evil ol’ Al Gore to bolster the renewable energy market, why would you be so upset about it? Germany spent their way through the recession setting up solar and wind power, and now they are far less dependent on the middle east for their energy as well as being one of the strongest economic powerhouses in the West. The Chinese and Indians are spending vast amounts of money creating solar plants, because they know there is not enough fossil fuel in the world to power their countries as they modernize. The price of fossil fuels will just keep going up- they are a finite resource, trying to keep up with an ever growing population. We need to develop renewables anyway, before we end up having to buy everything from China and India and Germany at a premium.

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By Doug McClean
on June 26th, 2012

Scientists made this animation? And they didn’t use an equal area projection? I agree that there is a very serious problem with anthropogenic global warming, but we don’t need to accidentally exaggerate it by making the poles (where the warming signature is strongest, as predicted by climate models) appear to be gigantic.

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By J M van Os (Darwin)
on June 26th, 2012

Can we send this to Gina Rinehart?

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By Paul Vincelli (Lexington/KY/40503)
on June 27th, 2012

As a publishing scientist who studies the peer-reviewed literature on climate change, I have concluded that we are long past any meaningful debate on the fundamentals of anthropogenic climate change (ACC).  Anyone who doubts this can see for themselves, by reading the peer-reviewed literature—not blogs and other internet sites without the quality control of expert review.  But if you insist on fighting this science, then I encourage you to do so in scientific venues, the only venues that really matter to scientists.  If you believe what you say, give a talk at a major scientific conference.  They are open to the public.  See if your ideas will stand the “fire” of expert review.

Instead of fighting settled science, I encourage those who doubt/deny ACC to consider where you are putting your intellectual energy.  Denying what is essentially settled science is likely to be a waste of your valuable energy, much like challenging the consensus that smoking is bad for one’s health.  Instead, consider using your energy to discover and articulate solutions to climate change that reflect your values.

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By Marcus Barber (Bentleigh Vic 3204)
on June 27th, 2012

This video can’t be right.  That well known ‘climate scientist’ Andrew Bolt says Global Warming is a myth. The other day he even had a graph showing that last month was cooler than the month before. Not sure if he said it had to do with winter, but if anyone would know the truth, it’d be him!

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By Susan L (Berkeley, CA 94703)
on June 29th, 2012

Quoting Paul:  “Denying what is essentially settled science is likely to be a waste of your valuable energy, much like challenging the consensus that smoking is bad for one’s health.  Instead, consider using your energy to discover and articulate solutions to climate change that reflect your values.”

I would add that trying to change the mind of ACC denyers is likely to be a waste of OUR valuable energy.  I, too, would love it if we were facing this challenge together, but do we really want to resort to proselytizing?  After all, I do the same thing to them when they come to my door; I say, “Save me from what?  I don’t need saving!”

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By Robert Harmon (St. Augustine, FL 32084)
on July 5th, 2012

Recently saw a presentation on Netflix in the TED series that spoke of the undisputed increasing acidification of the oceans (absorption of CO2) and the dire effect this will have, first on calcium carbonate-dependent creatures. Very scary and very measurable. Of course those naysayers wouldn’t know or even understand this. They’re not watching the TED series. They’re watching reruns of Dukes of Hazard.

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By Bill Koutalianos (Sydney, Australia)
on July 14th, 2012

There’s not much visual depiction of the very hot 1930s in the US or Australia. 1934 was the hotest year in the US for the 20th century and most Australian capitals have records which still stand from around 1939 / 1940. There’s hardly any sign of the mid 1970s global cooling / ice age scare, but there’s a very good depiction of the reduction in global measuring stations from about 6000 down to 1500 in the early 1990s leaving out most of the colder stations. The only place dramatic global warming exists is in this sort of alarmist propaganda.

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By John (Saint Paul, MN.)
on July 27th, 2012

1882 - First Electric Fan, Dr Schuyler Skaats Wheeler invents the first electrically powered mechanical fan. Thus Global Cooling! He new something was in our future?!?!?

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By Drunken Economist (Around/HIcksville/00000)
on July 28th, 2012

More ‘interpreted propaganda’ from our Neo-Druid friends at Nasa. Folks, the reason that the “heat” map doesn’t jibe with the REALITY is due to INTERPRETATION of the data. Re re read the quote from the article:

” “in this animation, reds indicate temperatures HIGHER THAN THE AVERAGE during a BASELINE PERIOD of 1951-1980, while blues indicate lower temperatures than the baseline average.”

So instead of considering the entire time period of heat and warmth, the NASA Druids of Gaia narrow it to a 29 year sliver.

Silly NeoDruids. Damned statistical tricks are for kids.

-Drunken Economist

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By Stafford Sanders of "Men With Day Jobs" (Gladesville)
on August 6th, 2012

Yeah, we don’t believe it either, here in Australia. Search for our (Men With Day Jobs) song on YouTube, “Denial Tango” where we “just hold our breath and say it isn’t so”. Brian from Roanoke could well have provided the lyrics. Hope you enjoy it!  There was also a version performed in Canada and US by “Eco Diva”, also on YouTube.

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By Deborah Deal-Blackwell, APR (Washington, D.C. 20152)
on August 9th, 2012

THANKS NASA and thank you Climate Central for the video.  Very helpful in driving home the point that we are experiencing Global Warming and Climate Change.
    We’ll send more folks to this page via our blog:

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By an15dy
on August 10th, 2012

“what did the Ancient Maya know?”    ” they knew climate change could make or break a civilization”  and they didn’t even product a significant amount of CO2s nor did they do any fracking..  they also knew if they didn’t stay in tuned to nature they would die. they had to constantly change their ways or die…”  which included.. actually moving entire communities and rebuilding them in new locations while leaving others to eventual fall to ruin.. “What did the Maya know” ” they knew the power of the sun, and they respected it.. and their surroundings”?  “What did the Maya Know, a lot more than we do.”  Sponsors desperately needed for ” Precursor to the Maya Show Countdown to the End of the World and beginning of a New Age”

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By rich monroe (Leominster, Ma 01453)
on August 10th, 2012

After debating the deniers for over 2 years, one thing stands out and that is the more ignorant they are the better the denier they are.

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By Walter Palma Filho (Barra Velha - Santa Catarina - Brazil)
on August 11th, 2012

By Walter, - We are seeing major transformations in our region here, which is in the Brazilian atlantic coast, beaches floting from sea and the result we are losing tourists profits,  in the other hand our government intervention are spending milions-dollar to recover these beaches, but in vain, because the quality tourist/profits will get much worse, and therefore now the people will take notice and attitudes, because as they lose money on tourism, one of the most profitable activities and more as the price of food is now caming with drought in the U.S.

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By Greg (86004)
on August 12th, 2012

Minor grammatical pet peeve in the figure caption:

“The data comes from NASA’s Goddard Institute…”

No.  The word “data” is plural - “datum” is the singular word to use if you are talking about just one data point. 

This sentence should begin, “These data come from NASA’s Goddard Institute…”

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By sober economist (St. John's, Newfoundland A1C 4H7)
on August 13th, 2012

To all the commenters who objected to this on the grounds that “they don’t even tell us what the colors are relative to” - why not read the paragraph of explanatory text just below the video?  It says:

“The data come from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, which monitors global surface temperatures. As NASA notes, “in this animation, reds indicate temperatures higher than the average during a baseline period of 1951-1980, while blues indicate lower temperatures than the baseline average.” “

In response to “drunken economist” - maybe re-read this without drinking?  It does not mean that they are reducing the 131-year time period to 29 years.  It means they are comparing each year with the 29-year average. 

If you want to argue with this on substantive grounds, go ahead.  But to criticize it without even having read the information that’s right there on the web page doesn’t give much credibility to what you are saying.

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By Nathan Rossman (Omaha, NE 68137)
on August 14th, 2012

I was just wondering if someone (that knows the answer) could explain why the baseline period 1951-1980 was used. The temperatures for that period are very important then to the animation, because temperature differences are relative to this baseline. What all went into deciding to use this period (1951-1980)? Although, even if this question is not answered, the animation is revealing in that it clearly indicates that the earth has been warming. This observation is necessary for characterizing global climate change and is a small line of evidence that indicates the potential for anthropogenic human causes of global warming.

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By Pas Argenio (Philadelphia, PA 19146)
on August 16th, 2012

I don’t waste time arguing with denialists.  The proof is readily available all over the internet and in journals.
What I’d like is to see more focus on solutions.
Voluntary efforts simply disadvantage those who care enough to engage in them.
What is needed is a level playing field enforced by government.  (Sorry anarchists and anarcho-capitalists).
The solutions are challenging but not draconian.  The real alarmists are those purporting the end of the world without fossil fuels.  Of course, we have painted ourselves into a corner somewhat—overpopulating with cheap energy and food.
There are however, many sources of renewable power of course.  And artificial trees.  And electric cars.  And even an electric airplane.  And LED lights.  And home DC systems powered by off-grid wind & solar.  I’ll bet we could come up with power supplies that turn off when a device is fully charged.  And better batteries.  And better mass transit.  And a lot more telecommuting.  Hell, anyone who does not handle things can work better from home.
There will be advantages too.
Can we at least debate the merits if what I like to call “Carbon Incentives”?  That is where you shift taxes from other areas onto carbon output.  Now, instead of paying payroll taxes, you pay to emit carbon (or someone else pays to emit carbon and you pocket the difference).  Al Gore doesn’t make anything, denialists.  We design it so it is gradual.
I own buildings in the city.  I have coated all my roofs with white coating.  It costs 50% more than silver coat and twice what the black stuff costs, but it lasts 3 times as long—and it reflects sunlight.  I’ve also planted trees on my blocks.  They cut down on cooling costs & increase property value.  These voluntary actions do not disadvantage me so I do them.  I find this consistent.  I used to buy carbon credits when flying.  I don’t now.  Why should I when everyone does not and most don’t?
You can read “The Tragedy of the Commons” for more on this philosophy.

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By Judith Ann Johnson (Munford/AL/36268)
on August 17th, 2012

“The essence of tragedy
resides in the solemnity
of the remorseless working of things.”

—The Tragedy of the Commons

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By Steve S (Woburn, MA)
on August 21st, 2012

How did they know the exact temperature in Chad or the middle of the Pacific Ocean in 1883?  Think about it.

The first satellites can into play in the late 60’s and 70’s.  So where did this data come from?

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By Reasonable Power (Frederick / Maryland / 21701)
on August 29th, 2012

The state of Maryland is trying to help. They passed a law that directly forces the electric company, with conditions, to pay homeowners for the electric that the homeowners send into the grid from a wind powered generator or other source. That can be over $10,000 per year.

See: .

What is your state doing to help the environment?

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By bobarl (Holland Patent, NY 13354)
on September 4th, 2012

Well, Brian Cabaniss in Roanoke, if you don’t believe that the Earth is more then 6000 years old, when then did the dinosaurs live and die? We’re told that they lived for millions of years but died possibly as the result of an asteroid hitting the Earth around 65 million years ago. And By d, sorry you don’t think what Hansen says is correct and accuse him of hiding some of the relavent information. To me Hansen is someone that is trying to warn us of what’s coming but many people don’t believe it and that is why I fear for my children and grand-children because of the coming weather disasters.

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By cathy (burton,ohio44021)
on September 4th, 2012

I was always told ” Dont believe everything hear and half of what you see” I believe it is here in this case.

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By Grouse Feather (Cascade, Idaho 83611)
on September 9th, 2012

It seems the scientific community is arduously searching for ways to convey an effective message on climate change. So far, not much as changed, especially where it matters, in political and economic policies.

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By A. Hick (Hixville, USA)
on September 10th, 2012

What is interesting is if you stop the video at random years, you notice a warming in the middle of the 20th century (the US is yellow and orange during the “dust bowl era” then a lot of blue in the 1960s and 1970s.  The real yellow and orange doesn’t show up until after 1980.  I suspect it is all the right wing hot air since Reagan grin

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By Don
on September 12th, 2012

Re: Ice

If all the ice in the world was floating in the ocean, then the melting of the ice would raise the sea level. But most ice is not in the ocean. Most of it is in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and Greenland. This ice is on land, and as it melts it is contributing to rising sea levels.

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By John
on September 13th, 2012

To those here who seem to take issue with the 1951-1980 period being used as a baseline, you are worrying over nothing. The whole point of the video is that it shows a CHANGE in temperatures over time, in a decidedly positive direction. Any 23-year period within the sample study used as baseline would still show an increase.

The baseline just determines which colors all the respective areas start with, and which they end with. Most start out blue and white because they started below the baseline, and end up yellow and red because they end up above the baseline, because the baseline is taken from a period IN THE MIDDLE of the overall sampling period. Okay, it’s not quite the middle, it’s more toward the recent past end, but that’s not what’s important. And yes, they used colors which appear “cool” at the beginning, and “warm” at the end. But again, that’s just for emphasis, not an attempt to be deceptive.

They could just as easily have started with 1880-1903 as the baseline, and overall, the data would still show an increase. I suspect 1951 to 1980 was chosen because it represents a period in which demonstrably accurate worldwide data was being collected. In 1880, there were lots of gaps in the data, mostly at sea,and in remote mountain areas. Areas which tend to be COOLER than average. Use data that omits all those cool areas for your baseline, and yes, there would be less warming indicated overall, because the starting point was skewed toward warmer temperatures. But that’s the point. It’s only altered BECAUSE THE OLD DATA IS INCOMPLETE. But computer models which are run BACKWARDS from today show close agreement with the data which IS available in the old records, which is why the “missing” data may be safely interpolated from the available data with a fair degree of certainty.

See how easy that is?

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By Rod Clifton (San Leon, TX 77539)
on October 15th, 2012

I just saw a report that said the Arctic now has 75% less ice than it had 40 years ago. And another report stating that the oceans are now 30% more acidic than about that same period.  And yet another report stating that we are now beyond the 330th consecutive month of temperatures above the 20th century average. US Grain Reserves are also reported to be below 50% and Lake Meade (Hover Dam) is below 50% full and projected to decrease even further. Then there is the Mississippi River at a historic low.

No Problemo, in not too many more years ALL that pesky ice will be gone from the Arctic and we can set it on fire with thousands of oil & gas rigs.  See, problem solved. Prosperity for all.

It does, however, seem a bit like setting the top of ones head on fire, to generate enough power to cool the rest of their body.  Does anyone see anything wrong with this picture?

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By Bill Hoffard (Arden, NC)
on October 27th, 2012

Do you want an indisputable fact? One that EVERYONE has to agree on? Al Gore has become a fabulously wealthy man living off the global warming hype while he personally celebrates a life of opulence and indulgence. Every night his mansion in Tennessee is lit up like a Christmas tree as he travels the world in a corporate jet spewing tons of carbon into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, enlightened environmentalists roll their eyes at the stupidity of suckers who fall victim to TV preachers like Jim and Tammy Fay Baker. Give me a break.

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By LP Post (Petaluma, CA 94971)
on October 30th, 2012

Dear Bill Hoffard,

If Al Gore had never existed, never been born, climate change would still exist. The earth would have warmed just as much without him, or the Bakers, even with all their hot air.  Look on your TV tonight and tomorrow, and see the destruction warmer seas have wrought.

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By Stuart (Melbourne/VIC/3072)
on November 21st, 2012

Firstly I consider myself a science nerd at heart. I’m a proud atheist and have a shelf full of science literature I read out of pleasure.

I am rather disappointed by the negative response that anyone not willing to admit ‘the Earth is doomed’ receives. Many people are not straight out denying any change is happening. They are not yet satisfied with humanity’s understanding of climate and any effects it may be under. This is the position I am taking right now.

According to Oxford, the scientific method is: “systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.” Many models have been proposed for climate change, however there is not one accepted, tested, provable hypothese nor formula. There is no equivalent of E=MC^2 yet. There is no smoking gun.

I hope people keep working toward such a goal. What really annoys me is that every lay person blames this new boogeyman as the cause of everything. Bad hurricane? Climate change. Feels hot today? Yep, climate change. Didn’t catch a fish today? Climate change. Car broke down? Climate change. Please, leave your annecdotal evidences to yourselves and let scientists develop the relatively new field of climate study.

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By Jack Parsons (NYC, NY, 21212)
on November 22nd, 2012

My sole objection is on chart-mongering grounds: the polar areas are artificially expanded. This causes polar changes to be over-emphasized v.s. equatorial changes.

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By jared (qld)
on January 12th, 2013

omg TOTALLY false, just by googling you can get the government data for australia, 1910-1915 hotter than the last ten years. 1930’s warmer than now, all our record temperatures in the 1940’s!
In face Australias average country temp for a day was only beaten this year and had stood for 70 years.
Nasa should be ashamed of themselves for releasing this clearly false data.
Do your own research!!!!

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By jimhopp (romeo, mi, 48065)
on February 1st, 2013

I didn’t know they were gathering accurate year round temperatures in Antarctica in the 1800’.....just wondering out loud.

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By Corenna Sampson (Ewing, Virginia 24248)
on February 28th, 2013

I’m not a scientist, I haven’t been tracking anything.  My information comes from my own observation.  All I know is when I moved into this area 7 years ago from Florida, I brought with me a tropical blooming flower, a passion flower known only to grow in areas that are tropical.  Living in zone 6a, I planted it anyway expecting it to die after the first winter, to my surprise it didn’t die but it didn’t flourish either.  For 6 years it sent out one single vine about 3 ft in length with a few pale 3 lobed leaves, no flowers, no fruit. (FOR 6 YEARS) Then last year, with the unseasonably warm temperatures the vine thrived sending out more than a dozen individual vines that each grew over 12 ft in length.  The foliage went from the pale green 3 lobed leaves of the previous years to a deep dark green 5 lobed leaves, and the vine continually burst with beautiful passion flowers all season even producing one passion fruit.  I did absolutely nothing to either encourage or discourage any growth in any year.  Never having fed or so much as watered it.  I left it completely to it own devices. With the temperatures being what they have been again so far this year, I expect a repeat performance of last summer! Nobody can convince me our climate isn’t changing.  I know for a fact it is!  If you pay attention, you will see it too!

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By Tony Flux (Weymouth, Dorset, England)
on March 25th, 2013

In all branches of science, debate is pushes us forward and prevents compacency that “we now have all the answers” and of course we do not…and never will have!

But the ‘Precautionery Principle’ suggests that if the impacts of current activities are uncertain and possibly irreversible then society should take action before that uncertainty is resolved. I call this the ‘Meerkat approach’ as opposed to the ‘Ostrich approach’.

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By Kelly Von (Toledo/Ohio/43613)
on May 1st, 2013

People that don’t believe that global warming is a thing are either 12 or sit inside all day with air conditioning. I cannot believe how hot it’s been in Ohio this early in the year, right after complaining how cold it was in April. To be quite honest, I really am glad that I am a typical American and don’t have the life expectancy to see it get much worse. I hate the hot and prefer the winter seasons myself.

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By C.M.Preston (Edmonton Alberta)
on May 1st, 2013

I’d like to see it run a bit slower over five or ten minutes, I’d also like to see a similiar representation of the pollution numbers over the time period since satellites first went up, with an over lay of populations stats over the same time period, and another one contrasting coal powered plants before nuclear power plants took over those areas.  I’m intrigued by the rise in termperature in the Antartic region which flashes and fades I think sometime in the fifties? 

What many of us need to remember about the ice in the glass which capacity will not change if it just sits there and melts since Ice occupies MORE space than water. as in translation to what is actually happening on the planet, Those areas of sea ice melt won’t actually affect sea level. It is the Ice melts from Green land and the Islands of the artic and the ice melts on Antaritica, the glaciers of Europe and the lower reaches of the Himalayas which will alter sea levels along with the gradual rebounding of the lands which were compressed by the last ice age which will drain of the water they are holding in muskeg across those areas of Canada not covered by the ground down mountains of the Canadian Sheild, and those similiar areas of Russia, as they rebound the frozen substrata will begin to heat and release the compacted ice and waters it presently holds. And Yes I do know from my BC friends that the glaciers of that province are growing not shrinking- a shift in what will be the poles, if we are in the middle of a global shift of the planetary axis? I don’t know guess I’ll wait and see…Its a time of change for the planet and we need to do what we need to do to minimize our affects as a population of what over 7 billion-our heat, our garbage, our waste which in itself produces heat as it degrades and decomposes as well as methane, sulfer and who knows what else…. We are part of a complex system within even bigger planetary systems. we are lice on the back of a camel….......

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By Micke (Kissimmee/FL/34741)
on May 2nd, 2013

Weird, according to the video, the hottest place on earth…  The North Pole..?  Bull..$#@T

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By Laura (60706)
on May 2nd, 2013

I’d like to see a similar visual showing net change year over year (or 3 years over 3 years or something) so that we could understand how the change has been speeding up. Anchoring it to an average in an arbitrary set of dates is a little confusing.

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By Jordan (B.C.)
on May 2nd, 2013

If they haven’t already, they should start compiling temperature data like this for the moon and Mars as well. Maybe dust/soil temperatures versus air, however. That would eliminate the argument people always bring up - “It’s normal, the sun causes Earth to go through periods of warming like this all the time”. If that were true, the temperature would be increasing on other planets too.

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By Mike West (London England SW1 5HX)
on May 5th, 2013

Moderator: please do NOT approve my previous post: I see the issue I brought up was addressed in the comments.

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By nancy (AB)
on May 14th, 2013

All I know is that when I was a child 40 years ago, snow was something that happened every winter, it would pile so high we made igloo forts we coudl stand up in and it lasted for weeks (snow days were an occurance that happened more than once a year) until the chinooks at the end of Feb or early March came blowing in.  Now…  no snow, chinooks all winter long and what used to be a 7 month winter…  Im still growing spinach at the end of November..  So, according to some of you… (the rest of you - great research and attention to info detail, appreciate that)  if climate change is NOT happening .. what is?  Please do explain with research, data back up and in detail please.

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By Chuck (Lewes DE)
on May 16th, 2013

Some of this is complicated. How do we discren natural cycles from climate change? Can we assess how much of the current CO2 in the atmosphere is from burning fossil fuels through carbon dating? How exactly does that work?

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By Nalin Guptha (bangalore)
on June 19th, 2013

<a >Global Warming</a> video is awesome…thanks for posting….

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By James Howard Young
on July 9th, 2013

I like how it cooled down in the late 60’s

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By Dr. C-Rene Dominique (Ste-Foy, PQ, Canada)
on October 14th, 2013

Someone should explain, very patiently, to the climate deniers that the geosystem has an attractor that is either complex, fractal or chaotic. It does not take much to make it unstable. If they do not believe the co2 story, just wait until we begin to release methane from the oceans. We might also inform them that the past 5 mass extinctions known to us were all caused by climate change.

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By Susan Platt (Bozeman, MT 59715)
on April 10th, 2014

a four minute original music video about climate change and global warming

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