May 2023 Global Temperatures
3rd warmest May since 1880
CSAS / GISS update: June 16, 2023
- The global average surface temperature in May 2023 was 1.22°C above the average for the pre-industrial comparison period of 1880-1920.
- May 2023 was the 3rd warmest May since 1880.
Global Monthly Average Temperatures
1880 to Present Relative to 1880-1920 Baseline Average
(a better proxy for pre-industrial temperatures)
This graph by Columbia University replaces the traditional 1951-1980 baseline period with 1880-1920 for the reasons given in "A Better Graph." The graph is produced by Climate Science, Awareness, and Solutions at Columbia University, and also available as a PDF. A monthly data table for recent years is published by CSAS.
This graph compares global monthly temperatures in recent years with global record-high temperaturtes. It is available in PDF and accessible on the source Global Temperature page on the Columbia University website.
Monthly global temperature data and reports
This global temperature update originates from Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions (CSAS) in the Earth Institute at Columbia University, New York, USA. The update presents an analysis by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) of near-global temperature data from 1880 to 2022.
This CO2.Earth page is prepared independently. However, reasons for featuring global temperature comparisons with averages for 1880-1920 period are explained in the 2016 paper, A better graph by Dr. James Hansen and Dr. Makiko Sato.
Source data and related information are linked below.
Columbia Climate School / CSAS / GISS Temperature & climate data and information
- Recent data Monthly global temperature changes relative to 1880-1920 base period (from NASA GISS analysis)
- Reports Monthly & annual reports since 2015: Global temperatures (Hansen, Sato & Ruedy)
- Links More CSAS climate data, research, books and other links (Sato & Hansen)
NASA GISS Source data analysis
- Data Global temperature index relative to 1951-1980 baseline
- Info Surface temperature analysis (GISTEMP)
- Info Updates regarding the NOAA GHCN v4 and ERSST v5. analysis of global temperature data
- Info & data More NASA Goddard datasets & images
NOAA NCEI Source dataset information
- Global historical climatology network monthly (GHCNm) dataset
- Extended reconstructed sea surface temperature (ERSST) dataset
*Note: NOAA-NCEI reports temperature increases relative to the 20th Century global average surface temperature, not pre-industrial levels.
2022 Global Temperature
Relative to the 1880-1920 average
5th warmest year since 1880
The global average temperature in 2022 was 1.16°C warmer than the baseline average for 1880-1920. It is the 5th warmest year on record since 1880. Annual temperature and ranking data are posted as a table by CSAS at Columbia University.
CSAS Earth Institute annual update: January 13, 2022
"Global surface temperature in 2021 (see figure above) was +1.12°C (~2°F) relative to the 1880-1920 average in the GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies) analysis.
"2021 and 2018 are tied for 6th warmest year in the instrumental record. The eight warmest years in the record occurred in the past eight years. The warming rate over land is about 2.5 times faster than over the ocean. The irregular El Nino/La Nina cycle dominates interannual temperature variability, which suggests that 2022 will not be much warmer than 2021, but 2023 could set a new record. Moreover, three factors:
- accelerating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,
- decreasing aerosols,
- the solar irradiance cycle will add to an already record-high planetary energy imbalance and drive global temperature beyond the 1.5°C limit – likely during the 2020s.
"Because of inertia and response lags in the climate and energy systems, the 2°C limit also will likely be exceeded by midcentury, barring intervention to reduce anthropogenic interference with the planet’s energy balance.
Columbia Climate School / CSAS / GISS Annual temperature data & analysis
- Recent data Annual global temperature relative to 1880-1920 & ranking: recent years (from NASA GISS analysis)
- Report Global temperature in 2021 (Hansen, Sato & Ruedy)
Recent Annual Global Temperature Reports
Regional Temperature Changes
Berkeley Earth Cities (temperature changes since 1960)
Berkeley Earth Countries | (emissions and temperature changes to 2020 with projections for 2100)
Recent Annual Global Temperature Reports
Acceleration in Global Warming
Columbia University Reports Observed Acceleration in Global Warming
Paper by J. Hansen and M. Sato
December 14, 2020
Global temperature and Niño3.4 SST (through to November 2020)
December 14 2020: Abstract
"Record global temperature in 2020, despite a strong La Niña in recent months, reaffirms a global warming acceleration that is too large to be unforced noise – it implies an increased growth rate of the total global climate forcing and Earth’s energy imbalance. Growth of measured forcings (greenhouse gases plus solar irradiance) decreased during the period of increased warming, implying that atmospheric aerosols probably decreased in the past decade. There is a need for accurate aerosol measurements and improved monitoring of Earth’s energy imbalance.
"November 2020 was the warmest November in the period of instrumental data, thus jumping 2020 ahead of 2016 in the 11-month averages. December 2016 was relatively cool, so it is clear that 2020 will slightly edge 2016 for the warmest year, at least in the GISTEMP analysis. The rate of global warming accelerated in the past 6-7 years (Fig. 2). The deviation of the 5-year (60 month) running mean from the linear warming rate is large and persistent; it implies an increase in the net climate forcing and Earth’s energy imbalance, which drive global warming.
Projections for Global Temperatures in 2022
Berkeley Earth (Jan. 2022):
2022 will be "similar" or "slightly warmer" than 2021
Columbia Climate School / CSAS (Jan. 2022):
"2022 will not be much warmer than 2021, but 2023 could set a new record"
Warnings From the Recent Past
"Globally-averaged temperatures in 2015 shattered the previous mark set in 2014 by 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit (0.13 Celsius). Only once before, in 1998, has the new record been greater than the old record by this much."
~ NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies [NASA post of January 20, 2016]
Before the end of 2015, scientists projected that average global temperature increase for 2015 will exceed 1°C above pre-industrial levels. The years 1850-1900 are used as the pre-industrial baseline by the MET Office and Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the UK. The MET Office released this statement in November 2015:
"This year marks an important first but that doesn't necessarily mean every year from now on will be a degree or more above pre-industrial levels, as natural variability will still play a role in determining the temperature in any given year. As the world continues to warm in the coming decades, however, we will see more and more years passing the 1 degree marker - eventually it will become the norm."
~ Peter Stott
Head of Climate Monitoring and Attribution (MET Office)
CO2 vs. Sun as Global Heating Factors
The temperature and CO2 tracker below plots data which shows a correlation of changes in atmospheric CO2 levels and global average temperature. Data for solar energy outputs show no general increase to attribute to global temperature increases. This tracker is designed and maintained by Bernd Herd and inspired by scientist Stefan Rahmstorf.
MET Office '15 Global temperatures to reach 1°C for first time
MET Office 2015 global temperature forecast
NSIDC '15 Record warmth in Antarctica
CO2.Earth Projections for Year 2100
CO2.EarthTemperature guardrail targets
Climate Central Rising global temperatures and CO2
Columbia U Global Temperature
The Royal Society Four degrees and beyond
Year-to-Date Global Temperature
NOAA compares 2015 monthly anomolies (compared to 20th Century average temperature) with 2014, 2010, 2013, 2005, 2009 and 1998. In rank order, these are the six warmest years since 1880.
Global Temperature Data Sets
Global Temperature Data
Prominent Global Surface Temperature Data Sets
(montlhy & annual)
1880-Present (csv, xml, json)
(monthly & annual)
Ten Global Temperature Records That Tell The Same Story
About Anomolies & Absolute Temperatures
NOAA-NCEI Absolute temperatures versus anomolies [FAQ 1, 2, 7 & 8]
SkS Anomolies, baselines, 2°C limit [Honeycutt | The 1°C milestone]
NOAA-NCEI Monthly global land & ocean surface mean temperature anomolies: 1901-2000 [.dat]
NOAA-NCEI Annual global land & ocean surface mean temperature anomolies: 1901-2000 [.dat]
W/M2 (Earth's Energy Imbalance)
"The inferred planetary energy imbalance, 0.58±0.15 W/m2 during the 6-yr period 2005-2010, confirms the dominant role of the human-made greenhouse effect in driving global climate change."
~ Hansen et al. (2011)
Measurements of changes in average global temperature at the earth's surface tell just part of the global warming story. A measure of earth's energy imbalance gives us a more holistic indicator that includes, for example, heat absorbed by the ocean. Energy imbalances are measured in watts per square meter (W/m2), not degrees Celsius.
At present, almost 4,000 Argo floats measure temperature and salinity of the top 2 kilometres of the world's oceans. This allows the best assessment so far for earth's energy imbalance. Hansen et al. (2011) discuss the need for further improvements in observations, measurements and research to achieve more precise energy balance data.
The remaining text on this page is copied from a 2012 NASA GISS science briefing on Earth's Energy Imbalance.
Earth's energy imbalance is the difference between the amount of solar energy absorbed by Earth and the amount of energy the planet radiates to space as heat. If the imbalance is positive, more energy coming in than going out, we can expect Earth to become warmer in the future — but cooler if the imbalance is negative. Earth's energy imbalance is thus the single most crucial measure of the status of Earth's climate and it defines expectations for future climate change.
Climate forcings are imposed perturbations to Earth's energy balance. Natural forcings include change of the Sun's brightness and volcanic eruptions that deposit aerosols in the stratosphere, thus cooling Earth by reflecting sunlight back to space. Principal human-made climate forcings are greenhouse gases (mainly CO2), which cause warming by trapping Earth's heat radiation, and human-made aerosols, which, like volcanic aerosols, reflect sunlight and have a cooling effect.
NASA GISS '12 Science briefs: Earth's energy imbalance
Scripps UCSD Argo
Hansen, J., Sato, M., Kharecha, P., & von Schuckmann, K. (2011). Earth's energy imbalance and implications. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 11(24), 13421-13449. doi:10.5194/acp-11-13421-2011 [AC&P + .pdf]
Ocean Heat Content
Global warming means the earth is retaining excess heat. About 93% of the total excess is found in the ocean. Over the past 50 years, the upper ocean (0 to 700 metres) accounted for about 64% of the total.
"The large inertia of the oceans means that they naturally integrate over short-term variability and often provide a clearer signal of longer-term change than other components of the climate system."
~ IPCC (Rhein et al., 2013, p. 260)
Where's the heat?
IPCC '13 Observations: Ocean (AR5, WG1, CH3) [43MB]
Rhein, M., Rintoul, S. R., Aoki, S., Campos, E., Chambers, D., Feely, R. A., . . . Wang, F. (2013). Observations: Ocean. In T. F. Stocker, D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S. K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, B. V., & P. M. Midgley (Eds.), Climate change 2013: The physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (pp. 255-315). Cambridge, UK and New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.