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Five-Year Average Global Temperature Anomalies from 1881 to 2009

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

This NASA animation of the Five-Year Average Global Temperature Anomalies from 1881 to 2009 shows how temperature anomalies have varied in the last 130 years. The color-coded map displays a long-term progression of changing global surface temperatures from 1881 to 2009. Dark red indicates the greatest warming and dark blue indicates the greatest cooling.

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Climate Literacy
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Global warming and especially arctic warming is recorded in natural geological and historic records
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Observations, experiments, and theory are used to construct and refine computer models
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Teacher may need to explain to students what "temperature anomaly" means. "Anomaly" is defined as the deviation of the global mean surface temperature from that for the base period. In this case the base period is the mean global temperature for 1951-1980.

About the Science

  • An authoritative and well-documented visualization of 130 years of global temperature anomalies.
  • For more information on the data used to generate these images, see http://giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/
  • Comment from expert scientist: Very good animations of global temperature through time. The data are from respected scientists, and a respected/good dataset. It would be a good idea to include Fahrenheit temperatures for younger students.

About the Pedagogy

  • Animation clearly demonstrates how temperatures have changed in the last 130 years.
  • Associated explanation on the webpage help provide more background for both teachers and students.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The animation can be downloaded in a variety of formats and resolutions.
  • Very clear, easy to understand graphics.

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