October Global Temperature Update

Hansen & Sako, Columbia University (Nov. 18, 2021):

"October global temperature was close to an October record for the 1880-2021 period of near-global instrumental data, despite the cooling effect of a fairly strong, double-dip La Nina. The October global temperature – the 4th warmest October in the period 1880-present – was +1.23°C relative to 1880-1920."

Plot: October 2021 Global Surface Temperature

"Almost all ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) models including NOAA’s NCEP model project minimum Nino3.4 temperature by December. Given the present extreme planetary energy imbalance – more solar energy absorbed than heat radiated to space – the 12-month running-mean global temperature is now at or near its minimum, which means that the annual 2021 temperature will be the sixth warmest year (the five warmest being 2020, 2016, 2019, 2017, 2015)."

Source links:


*Note: NOAA-NCEI reports temperature increases relative to the 20th Century global average surface temperature, not pre-industrial levels.  



Dec. 2020: Columbia University Reports Observed Acceleration in Global Warming:

"Abstratct: 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."

2020 11 global temperature plot columbiaU hansen sato 2020 12 14

Fig. 2. Global temperature and Niño3.4 Index through November 2020.

Columbia U "Global Warming Acceleration" (Hansen & Sato) published & accessed December 14, 2020

"The science is sobering—the global temperature in 2012 was among the hottest since records began in 1880. Make no mistake: without concerted action, the very future of our planet is in peril."

~ Christine Lagarde, in 2012
Managing Director, International Monetary Fund


NOAA annual global analysis for 2020: 

"With a slightly cooler end to the year, the year 2020 secured the rank of second warmest year in the 141-year record, with a global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average of +0.98°C (+1.76°F). This value is only 0.02°C (0.04°F) shy of tying the record high value of +1.00°C (+1.80°F) set in 2016 and only 0.03°C (0.05°F) above the now third warmest year on record set in 2019. The seven warmest years in the 1880–2020 record have all occurred since 2014, while the 10 warmest years have occurred since 2005. The year 1998 is no longer among the 10 warmest years on record, currently ranking as the 11th warmest year in the 141-year record. The year 2020 marks the 44th consecutive year (since 1977) with global land and ocean temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average.

The decadal global land and ocean surface average temperature anomaly for 2011–2020 was the warmest decade on record for the globe, with a surface global temperature of +0.82°C (+1.48°F) above the 20th century average. This surpassed the previous decadal record (2001–2010) value of +0.62°C (+1.12°F).

The global annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.08°C (0.14°F) per decade since 1880 and over twice that rate (+0.18°C / +0.32°F) since 1981.

The 2020 Northern Hemisphere land and ocean surface temperature was the highest in the 141-year record at +1.28°C (+2.30°F) above average. This was 0.06°C (0.11°F) higher than the previous record set in 2016. Meanwhile, the annual Southern Hemisphere land and ocean surface temperature was the fifth highest on record."

[NOAA/NCEI global analysis for 2020 accessed February 21, 2021].


"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)


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