British Meteorological Office and the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit showed that the average global temperature in 1988 was 59.62 degrees Fahrenheit, 0.62 Fahrenheit higher than the long-term average for the period from 1950 through to 1979. The 1988 temperature was almost identical to that of 1995 at 59.70 degrees Fahrenheit but much warmer than the average global temperature of  58.73 degrees Fahrenheit, (14.85 Celsius), that was recorded in 2019.

Temperature Graph credit New York Times in 1987

About this Archive: This is a copy of part of a digitized version of an article from The New York Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions.

Average global temperatures in the 1980’s are the highest measured since reliable records were first kept over 130 years ago, according to reports now coming in from scientists around the world.

Temperatures have been rising more or less steadily for much of the last century. But, in the view of some scientists, a sharper rise detected in the 1980’s is the most persuasive evidence yet that carbon dioxide and other industrial gases are trapping heat in the atmosphere and warming the earth as if it were a greenhouse

In interviews, meteorologists and others engaged in plotting global climate trends were cautious about blaming the greenhouse effect for the recent sharp increase, saying mathematical models of the phenomenon project much sharper increases than have so far occurred.

But several agreed that if the pattern persisted into the next decade, it would almost certainly mean that an era of global warming, caused by humans and certain to affect them in major ways, has begun. One of the scientists, Dr. E Hansen of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, said he used the 30 year period 1950-1980 when the average global temperature was 59 degrees Fahrenheit as a base to determine temperature variations. He said his readings showed that the average global temperature rose about as much since the base period as it did from the 1880’s to the base period-about half a degree in both cases. He stressed that these were estimates and that it would take millions of measurements to reach an accurate global average. ..end of article copied.

It was a rushed process.  Tom Wigley, an Australian Scientist, was part of a small group of scientists whose responsibility was to detect the extent of the man’s effect on climate…. in other words not whether or not but by how much. There was political pressure on the IPCC to remove the The Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period, vital before adopting Michael Mann’s flawed tree ring data (Mckitrick & McIntyre) and the IPCC obliged. As a result of all the shenanigans to produce a warming trend using higher temperature readings which had to be sufficiently inflated before the 1992 Rio climate conference.

Today’s global temperatures are much cooler even when applying the 20th century average temperature baseline, the highest temperature in the 21st century was 14. 84 C in 2016 which was raised to 14.90 C two years later and still more than 0ne degree Celsius cooler than the 1990’s temperatures and below some of the “hottest” temperatures recorded through 1987 to 1997.

The baseline periods used today are not much different. Some temperature monitors are using using the 1961- 1900 period which is about 14.00 C but most are using the 20th century average global temperature of 13.90 C. More recently they have used the degree of warming above the pre-industrial temperature average but don’t say precisely what it is, leaving them a wriggle room to “correct” readings. It begs the question why not reveal the correct temperature and be done with it?

There would surely have been pressure to remove or alter these embarrassing high temperatures records without success. To their credit The New York times have resolved to protect the integrity of their archived data.

These Global temperatures readings were published as soon as they were announced by the IPCC.


  1. Talford says:

    No one can say that the New York Times had ever doubted global warming, in fact quite the opposite. What I have noticed is from 1997 The New York Times, along with most other papers, have found it hard to get actual temperatures but only the anomalies that stretch back to 1880, without knowing the baseline. One method of confusing the public is to used terms like: “this year was the hottest since record keeping began etc. etc..”

  2. Robin says:

    While the New York Times, who have been more supportive of Global Warming than most media outlets, have been true their policy by not removing or changing data, and that includes temperature records which might otherwise be contrary to their own held views.

  3. Anonyme says:

    Thanks for this article. I am going to spread it around. That base line in the graph shows a lot more warmth than today which is ridiculous when compared with the 13.90 C or 57.02 F that is used today. I have always believed the 1930s was just as warm as today. There has been no warming since so it is time we brought these leaches, who misled us on global warming, to justice for creating this scam.

  4. Geraldine Sharp says:

    They no longer announce average global temperatures that would allow people to make comparisons with previous years but speak only in riddles. e.g. This year was x degrees warmer than the average temperature for the period 1961-1990 etc..

  5. Anonyme says:

    59.62 degrees Fahrenheit, (15.34 degrees Celsius), makes 1988 more than half a degree Celsius warmer than 2019 at 14.85 C. Smell a rat?
    Serves them right for revealing the correct annual temperatures in the Eighties and most of the Nineties! This James Hansen, leader of Nasa Goddard is such a fool.

  6. Talford says:

    Experts tell us that modern methods of measuring annual global temperatures are far more reliable than what they were back in the Eighties and nineties but it does call into question why these past temperature records are still being used, selectively, to demonstrate world warming trends despite cooler temperatures in recent years.
    If the eighties and nineties were considered unreliable then how much faith could you pin on the average global temperatures from the period 1880-1900 (pre-industrial preiod) they are now using as a baseline which they won’t stipulate because they want wriggle room for argument.

  7. Margaret Bayne-West says:

    They appear to have used a higher baseline to calculate the 1988 temperature. The average temperature for the period 1950-1979 was actually 57.20 F (14.00 C) add 0.62 F, and 1988 should have been listed as 57.820 F (14.34 C). It appears they have used 59 F as the baseline and added 0.62 F to get 59.62 F (15.34 C) the temperature recorded for 1988. This might explain the mistake but this could be disputed by similar higher temperatures in preceding years.

  8. John Bollen says:

    British philosopher Martin Cohen makes this connection explicit:
    “Is belief in global-warming science another example of the “madness of crowds”? That strange but powerful social phenomenon, first described by Charles Mackay in 1841, turns a widely shared prejudice into an irresistible “authority”. Could it *belief in human-caused, catastrophic global warming] indeed represent the final triumph of irrationality”?

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