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 1979. The average worldwide temperature for that 30-year period, was about 59 degrees Fahrenheit, (15 degrees Celsius)
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.
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. Average global temperatures in the 1980’s are were 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. There would surely have been pressure to remove these embarrassing past temperature without success. To their credit The New York times have resolved to protect the integrity of their archived data.