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Five-Year Average Global Temperature Anomalies from 1880 to 2010

Robert B. Schmunk, J Hansen, R Ruedy, Mki Sato, K Lo, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

This color-coded map displays a progression of changing five-year average global surface temperatures anomalies from 1880 through 2010. The final frame represents global temperature anomalies averaged from 2006 to 2010. The temperature anomalies are computed relative to the base period 1951-1980.

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Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Viewing these annual 5-year average temperature anomalies will encourage students to ask why this is happening to global mean temperatures.
  • Students likely need to be instructed and coached on how to interpret these maps even though it is rather straightforward.
  • Information on how the raw data was processed to derive the map is given here: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp.

About the Science

  • Temperature monitoring stations from around the world collect temperatures and analyze/compare the records year after year.
  • This resource includes data sources and scientific references and some discussion about the reasons for working with temperature anomalies rather than absolute temperatures.
  • Comments from expert scientist: A strength of this resource is that it is based on real data.

About the Pedagogy

  • While these are important datasets and should be presented in classrooms, the web page includes little scaffolding for most educators. Further background material will likely be needed.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • This animation and its individual frames are available in a number of formats. It is best to use the animation with the year overlay and have the temperature difference color bar available.
  • The web page does not make clear that there are both videos and stills available (i.e., they should be separated in some way).
  • Visualizations of the anomalies changing year to year can be downloaded or educators could choose individual jpegs to make their own data collection.
Entered the Collection: February 2017 Last Reviewed: December 2016

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