NCDC Frequently Asked Questions
What datasets are used in calculating the average global temperature anomaly?
[ Return to FAQs ]
Land surface temperatures are available from the Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN). Sea surface temperatures are determined using the extended reconstructed sea surface temperature (ERSST) analysis. ERSST uses the most recently available International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS) and statistical methods that allow stable reconstruction using sparse data. The monthly analysis begins January 1854, but due to very sparse data, no global averages are computed before 1880. With more observations after 1880, the signal is stronger and more consistent over time.