Sadly, our global thermometer takes an hour to gather and determine a mean temperature (see how here, or by clicking on the graphic) so, by the time it reports, that isn't the temperature the world is now. Another serious limitation is that it samples airport data and so we are only getting the mean of about a thousand land-based and largely urban samplings. At best it serves to demonstrate how volatile are Earthly near-surface temperatures and it certainly has provided amusement for a great many viewers. Near-surface measures are fraught with difficulties, not least is variation in sampling and drift over time in sampling location - see Microclimate Exposures Of Surface-Based Weather Stations: Implications For The Assessment of Long-Term Temperature Trends (.pdf) - "New photographic metadata of eastern Colorado stations are examined, raising questions about the usefulness of current surface datasets for climate applications." (Christopher A. Davey and Roger A. Pielke Sr., BAMS) for more on some of these problems.

By nature humans are curious critters, we want to know more (at least, most of us do) and so we have assembled a collection of views of Earth's global and regional temperature estimates for your elucidation and amusement. Note well that the various datasets utilise different base periods for establishing anomalies and consequently there can be wide disagreement between representations of the same region over the same period. Particularly note that near-surface metrics tell us little about why trends might be observed - for example a snowfield discoloured by particulate carbon (soot) will exhibit reduced albedo (reflectivity) and probable warming regardless of whether the airmass above warms or not. Consequently near-surface measures are of little efficacy attempting to discern enhanced greenhouse because there are simply too many confounding factors - to investigate the extent of enhanced greenhouse warming it is necessary to examine the atmosphere and so we have a distinct preference for satellite-mounted MSU data (we use it here as a comparator). No caveats will stop people wanting to check the temperature so onward then, check out over 60 ways to view the planet's temp. We have global means, global variance, hemispheric and regional splits... CSV (comma separated value) files of the data involved can be downloaded by whatever command suits your browser - linked from the text below the full sized graphics.

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