Earth  ID: 14066

Temperature Record 101: How We Know What We Know

2021 was tied for the sixth warmest year on NASA’s record, stretching more than a century.

But, what is a temperature record?

GISTEMP, NASA’s global temperature analysis, takes in millions of observations from instruments on weather stations, ships and ocean buoys, and Antarctic research stations, to determine how much warmer or cooler Earth is on average from year to year.
Stretching back to 1880, NASA’s record shows a clear warming trend. However, individual weather events and La Niña — a pattern of cooler waters in the Pacific that was responsible for slightly cooling 2021’s average temperature — can affect individual years.

Because the record is global, not every place on Earth experienced the sixth warmest year on record. Some places had record-high temperatures, and we saw record droughts, floods and fires around the globe.

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DLESE >> Human geography
DLESE >> Hydrology
DLESE >> Natural hazards
SVS >> Temperature
SVS >> Temperature Trend
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Climate Indicators
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Climate Indicators >> Drought Indices
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Human Dimensions >> Natural Hazards >> Fires
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Hydrosphere >> Surface Water >> Floods
SVS >> Weather >> Climate Change
SVS >> Climate >> Temperature
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version