Yes, It Is Warmer

May 11, 1999

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Just how warm is it, anyway? According to a new study, the average annual surface temperature of the whole world is 14.0 degrees Celsius (57.2 degrees Fahrenheit). It is a little warmer (14.6 degrees C; 58.3 degrees F)in the northern hemisphere, where there is more land, than in the southern hemisphere, where there is more water (13.4 degrees C; 56.1 degrees F). The global annual cycle reflects the land-dominated northern seasons, with a July average maximum of 15.9 degrees C (60.6 degrees F) and a January average minimum of 12.2 degrees C (54.0 degrees F).

These figures appear in the May issue of Reviews of Geophysics, published by the American Geophysical Union. They are based on extensive research by British and American scientists, headed by Prof. Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Reviews of Geophysics is a quarterly journal presenting peer reviewed papers that provide an overview of geophysical science and the directions of current research.

The researchers studied actual temperature readings for the period starting in the mid-nineteenth century and proxy, or indirect, data for earlier years. Their principal conclusions are: The study was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy; the U.K. Natural Environmental Research Council; the U.K. Department of Environment, Transport, and the Regions; and other agencies.
Notes for science writers and public information officers only:

For further information on the science in this report, you may contact the principal author, Prof. Phil Jones by email or phone 44-1603-592090.

Temperatures reported in the paper are in Celsius only. Fahrenheit temperatures in this document have been calculated and rounded to three significant figures.

A copy of the paper, P.D. Jones, M. New, D.E. Parker, S. Martin, and I.G. Rigor, "Surface Air Temperature and its Changes Over the Past 150 Years" (27 pages) may be obtained upon request to Harvey Leifert Provide name, title, address, phone, and fax. The paper will be mailed unless fax is requested. It contains numerous figures, charts, and tables, many in color.

The paper is available for sale to nonmembers of AGU for $15. Call Customer Service at 800-966-2481 (1-202-462-6900 outside North America) and ask for paper number 1999RG900002.

American Geophysical Union

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