people always talk about global temperature (such as the global temperature goal of 1,5 K) - but how is this value achieved? It seems to me that it clearly depends on where the measuring stations are, how far they are apart and how one weighs them. Has anyone got any paper/report at hand that declares how this is done (at the moment)?

Thank you very much!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What do you mean by the term global temperature? There is no such thing. Climate change has to do with energy not with temperature. $\endgroup$
    – user19169
    Dec 21, 2020 at 1:38
  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean by weighing a weather station? Do you mean taking readings from the station or weightings to the readings, if the readings are clustered, as one would do if one was using variography & geostatistical analyses? $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Dec 22, 2020 at 4:22
  • $\begingroup$ Of course we understand what you mean. But the main remark is that T is an intensive property only when a system is at Internal equilibrium (this is general, by the way). No one want Earth to be truly at equilibrium. I upvoted the comment above and the answer by Wxboyajm $\endgroup$
    – Alchimista
    Dec 26, 2020 at 14:17

1 Answer 1


Measuring stations are used, but to fill in the gaps that are inherently there. Satellite observations of surface level temperatures are used to smooth out the data (and gather information about the oceans) to create a full look at the global temperature.

Then the observed temperatures are compared to averages from recorded history and hot and cold spots are determined. Then finally the temperature deviations are added and subtracted respectively from each other until all deviations have been accounted for and a determination of above or below average is determined.

ECMWF uses their Copernicus satellites for this type of research which is documented in this presentation. The data is available through their ERA5 database.

  • $\begingroup$ I altered the first paragraph because it didn't read well. Is my edit what you meant? $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Dec 22, 2020 at 4:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yup, thanks for the catch. Further edited my paragraph after rereading it. $\endgroup$
    – Wxboyajm
    Dec 22, 2020 at 13:40

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