Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2013 July 31

130 Years of Earth Surface Temperatures
Image Credit: GISS, NASA

Explanation: How has the surface temperature of Earth been changing? To help find out, Earth scientists collected temperature records from over 1000 weather stations around the globe since 1880, and combined them with modern satellite data. The above movie dramatizes the result showing 130 years of planet-wide temperature changes relative to the local average temperatures in the mid-1900s. In the above global maps, red means warmer and blue means colder. On average, the display demonstrates that the temperature on Earth has increased by nearly one degree Celsius over the past 130 years, and many of the warmest years on record have occurred only recently. Global climate change is of more than passing interest -- it is linked to global weather severity and coastal sea water levels.

Tomorrow's picture: double take

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
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