Climate Action

Here's how global temperatures have fluctuated since 1880

In October, temperatures were nearly 2 degrees above the average of the past 30 years.

In October, temperatures were nearly 2 degrees above the average of the past 30 years. Image: Pexels/Pixabay

Felix Richter
Data Journalist, Statista
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This article is part of: Centre for Nature and Climate
  • The past eight years have been the warmest on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • Europe experienced its warmest October on record, with temperatures nearly 2 degrees above the average of the past 30 years.
  • As the following chart shows, there is a clear warming trend with temperatures in each of the past 45 years surpassing the 20th century average.

As world leaders have come together in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, to discuss policy measures addressing the global challenge of climate change at COP27, an unseasonably warm October in large parts of the Northern hemisphere has served as a timely reminder of the problem at hand. Earlier this week, the Copernicus Climate Change Service, an EU-funded institute monitoring the climate on behalf of the European Commission, reported that Europe experienced its warmest October on record, with temperatures nearly 2 degrees above the average of the past 30 years.

Considering that 2022 was already on track to become the sixth warmest on record before October, it can now be safely assumed that the planet’s undesirable hot streak won’t come to an end this year. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the past eight years have been the warmest on record, i.e. since 1880, with global mean surface temperatures (land and sea) diverging 0.82 to 0.99 degrees Celsius from the 20th century average.

As the following chart shows, there is a clear warming trend with temperatures in each of the past 45 years surpassing the 20th century average. Conversely, the first 59 years of the observance period (i.e. 1880-1938) saw global surface temperatures below the 20th century average of 13.9 degrees Celsius.

A graph showing global mean temperature from 1901-2000.
There is a clear warming trend with temperatures in each of the past 45 years surpassing the 20th century average. Image: Statista.
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