Skip to main content
Northern Hemisphere Surface Air Temperature Variations: 1851-1984
  • P. D. Jones
  • S. C. B.Raper
  • Raymond S. Bradley, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
  • H. F. Diaz
  • P. M. Kelly, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
  • T. M. L.Wigley
A new compilation of monthly mean surface air temperature for the Northern Hemisphere for 1851-1984 is presented based on land-based meteorological station data and fixed-position weather ship data. This compilation differs from others in two ways. First, a considerable amount of new data, previously hidden away in archives, has been included, thus improving both spatial and temporal coverage. Second, the station data have been analyzed to assess their homogeneity. Only reliable or corrected station data have been used in calculating area averages. Grid point temperature estimates have been made by interpolating onto a 50 latitude by 100 longitude grid for each month of the 134 years. In the period of best data coverage, 58% of the area of the Northern Hemisphere is covered by the available data network. (The remaining area is mainly ocean too far from landbased stations to warrant extrapolation.) The reliability of hemispheric estimates is assessed for earlier periods when coverage is less than this maximum. Year-to-year estimates are considered reliable back to about 1875. Estimates earlier than this are judged sufficiently good to indicate trends back to 1851. This new land-based hemispheric temperature curve is compared with recent estimates of Northern Hemisphere temperatures based on marine data. The two independent estimates agree well on the decadal time scale back to the start of the century, but important discrepancies exist for earlier times.
Publication Date
February, 1986
Citation Information
P. D. Jones, S. C. B.Raper, Raymond S. Bradley, H. F. Diaz, et al.. "Northern Hemisphere Surface Air Temperature Variations: 1851-1984" JOURNAL OF CLIMATE AND ApPLIED METEOROLOGY Vol. 25 Iss. 2 (1986)
Available at: