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Hannah Ritchie, Max Roser


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Interactive Media
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus


Average Temperature Anomaly

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  • This resource displays the global average land-sea temperature anomaly relative to the 1961-1990 average temperature in the form of an interactive chart and a table. 
  • The median temperature anomaly clearly shows an increase over time. 
  • The upper and lower 95% confidence intervals are also provided. 
Teaching Tips


  • This interactive provides two different ways for students to explore data (chart and table).
  • Students may choose to view global datasets or datasets for the northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere, and the tropics.
  • An added benefit is that the site explains how the data was collected.

Additional Prerequisites

  • There are multiple layers of data to explore and navigate. Teachers should familiarize themselves with the various capabilities of the interactive and notice the various ways to add and remove datasets to the table and chart. 
  • Because the interactive provides so many options for viewing the data, students may need to be provided with clear instructions as to which dataset to explore.
  • It is critical to note that this does not fully explain how much the planet has warmed since preindustrial times. This anomaly uses a baseline of the average temperature from 1961-1990. However, Earth had already warmed by then. For a different snapshot, see this Global Temperature Map from NASA, which uses a different baseline.


  • Cross-curricular connections can be made with math classes by using this interactive to explore ratios and percentages.
  • Students or small groups could be assigned hemispheres and explore how their group data compares to the global data.
  • This can be used to introduce climate change in science classes by having students generate a list of questions about the data, which can guide future lessons.

Scientist Notes

Methods in assembling observational temperature change, estimating from the base records of 1961-1990, and quantifying uncertainties are appropriate. This resource is recommended for students to gain knowledge on global temperature anomalies.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
      • HS-ESS3-5 Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Expressions & Equations (6-8)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.8.EE.B.5 Graph proportional relationships, interpreting the unit rate as the slope of the graph. Compare two different proportional relationships represented in different ways. For example, compare a distance-time graph to a distance-time equation to determine which of two moving objects has greater speed.
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