Special Report

How Unusual Temperatures Have Been Every Year Since 1950

Tomwang112 / Getty Images

The introduction of a polar vortex this week across the Northeast will introduce frigid temperatures that could challenge records. Accompanied by high winds, windchill could drive the temperature people feel to between 30 and 50 below zero in parts of northern New York state and New England. 

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationreportsthat Earth’s temperature has risen by an average of 0.14 degrees Fahrenheit every decade since 1880, when humans began accelerating industrial activities. Since 1981, however, that rate has more than doubled to an increase of 0.32 F in average temperatures every decade. (Earth’s CO2 level rose every year since climate change became a national issue.)

The 20th century average of the combined global land and ocean temperatures was 57 F, nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit higher than pre-industrial levels.

These incremental rises in temperature may not seem like much if you judge it by the air temperature outside today, but they have profound effects on ecological systems and the climate, causing more frequent and powerful weather events.

The warming of air and water temperatures due to human activity in turn leads to natural carbon emissions from the Arctic sea-floor and melting permafrost, putting the accelerator pedal down on global warming. Climate experts warn we can expect more floods, droughts, and wildfires, which have already become common in the modern news cycle.

To identify the temperature the year you were born, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on the combined land surface air and sea surface water temperature for 1950 through 2021 from NASA’s Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index. We also added the anomaly – the temperature compared to a base period. NASA used 57 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the average global temperature from 1951-1980, as the base. The hottest month each year also came from the report. 

From 1950 to 2021, the global average of combined land-sea temperatures has been below 57 degrees Fahrenheit — the base period temperature average — in only 15 years. The last time was in 1976. This means anyone under the age of 45 has lived their entire lives in a warmer world with increasingly damaging climate effects. 

Furthermore, anyone born since 2018 has lived with a global land-air temperature average of 58.5 F or higher. People born into the coming years will almost surely live with this average temperature above 59 F.

The anomalies compared to the base period have increased as well. While in 1976 the average temperature was 0.18 degrees below the base period average temperature of 57 F, by 2021 the average temperature was 1.51 F above it. In 2020, temperature was 1.84 degrees above the 1951-1980 global average. (Here are the worst states driving the climate crisis.)

Here is how abnormal the world’s temperature was every year since 1950.

Source: James W. Welgos / Getty Images

1950
> Average land-ocean temperature: 56.7° Fahrenheit – #70 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.31° below 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: June (56.9°)

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Source: Archive Photos / Getty Images

1951
> Average land-ocean temperature: 56.9° Fahrenheit – #62 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.13° below 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: December (57.3°)

Source: Graphic House / Getty Images

1952
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.0° Fahrenheit – #56 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.02° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: January (57.2°)

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

1953
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.1° Fahrenheit – #46 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.14° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: April (57.3°)

Source: Archive Photos / Getty Images

1954
> Average land-ocean temperature: 56.8° Fahrenheit – #68 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.23° below 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: November (57.1°)

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

1955
> Average land-ocean temperature: 56.7° Fahrenheit – #69 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.25° below 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: January (57.2°)

Source: Phil Burchman / Getty Images

1956
> Average land-ocean temperature: 56.7° Fahrenheit – #71 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.34° below 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: December (56.9°)

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Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

1957
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.1° Fahrenheit – #50 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.09° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: June (57.3°)

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

1958
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.1° Fahrenheit – #48 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.11° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: January (57.7°)

Source: Archive Photos / Getty Images

1959
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.1° Fahrenheit – #53 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.05° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: March (57.3°)

Source: Harvey Meston / Getty Images

1960
> Average land-ocean temperature: 56.9° Fahrenheit – #60 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.05° below 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: December (57.3°)

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Source: Express / Getty Images

1961
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.1° Fahrenheit – #48 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.11° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: February (57.3°)

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

1962
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.1° Fahrenheit – #53 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.05° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: February (57.3°)

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

1963
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.1° Fahrenheit – #50 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.09° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: August (57.4°)

Source: Archive Photos / Getty Images

1964
> Average land-ocean temperature: 56.6° Fahrenheit – #72 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.36° below 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: June (56.9°)

Source: Harvey Meston / Getty Images

1965
> Average land-ocean temperature: 56.8° Fahrenheit – #67 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.20° below 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: August (56.9°)

Source: Archive Photos / Getty Images

1966
> Average land-ocean temperature: 56.9° Fahrenheit – #61 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.11° below 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: July (57.1°)

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Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

1967
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.0° Fahrenheit – #59 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.04° below 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: May (57.2°)

Source: Evening Standard / Getty Images

1968
> Average land-ocean temperature: 56.9° Fahrenheit – #64 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.14° below 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: March (57.4°)

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

1969
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.1° Fahrenheit – #50 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.09° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: December (57.4°)

Source: Harvey Meston / Getty Images

1970
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.1° Fahrenheit – #53 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.05° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: February (57.4°)

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Source: Space Frontiers / Getty Images

1971
> Average land-ocean temperature: 56.9° Fahrenheit – #64 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.14° below 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: August (57.0°)

Source: Archive Photos / Getty Images

1972
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.0° Fahrenheit – #56 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.02° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: December (57.3°)

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

1973
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.3° Fahrenheit – #41 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.29° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: February (57.6°)

Source: Pictorial Parade / Getty Images

1974
> Average land-ocean temperature: 56.9° Fahrenheit – #62 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.13° below 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: August (57.2°)

Source: Archive Photos / Getty Images

1975
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.0° Fahrenheit – #58 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.02° below 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: May (57.3°)

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

1976
> Average land-ocean temperature: 56.8° Fahrenheit – #66 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.18° below 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: December (57.2°)

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Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

1977
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.3° Fahrenheit – #39 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.32° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: May (57.6°)

Source: Space Frontiers / Getty Images

1978
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.1° Fahrenheit – #47 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.13° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: March (57.3°)

Source: Tony Duffy / Getty Images

1979
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.3° Fahrenheit – #41 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.29° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: December (57.9°)

Source: FPG / Getty Images

1980
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.5° Fahrenheit – #36 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.47° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: February (57.7°)

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Source: Gene Forte / Getty Images

1981
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.6° Fahrenheit – #31 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.58° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: January (58.0°)

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

1982
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.3° Fahrenheit – #44 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.25° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: December (57.8°)

Source: Tony Duffy / Getty Images

1983
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.6° Fahrenheit – #34 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.56° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: January (58.0°)

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

1984
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.3° Fahrenheit – #41 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.29° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: May (57.6°)

Source: Space Frontiers / Getty Images

1985
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.2° Fahrenheit – #45 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.22° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: January (57.4°)

Source: Getty Images / Staff

1986
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.3° Fahrenheit – #39 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.32° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: February (57.7°)

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Source: Rick Stewart / Getty Images

1987
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.6° Fahrenheit – #31 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.58° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: December (57.8°)

Source: Getty Images / Staff

1988
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.7° Fahrenheit – #27 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.70° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: January (58.0°)

Source: Pascal Rondeau / Getty Images

1989
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.5° Fahrenheit – #35 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.49° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: December (57.7°)

Source: Space Frontiers / Getty Images

1990
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.8° Fahrenheit – #24 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.81° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: March (58.4°)

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

1991
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.7° Fahrenheit – #26 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.72° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: June (58.0°)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

1992
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.4° Fahrenheit – #38 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.40° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: January (57.9°)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

1993
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.4° Fahrenheit – #37 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.41° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: February (57.7°)

Source: Phil Cole / Getty Images

1994
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.6° Fahrenheit – #31 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.58° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: June (57.8°)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

1995
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.8° Fahrenheit – #24 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.81° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: February (58.4°)

Source: Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

1996
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.6° Fahrenheit – #30 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.59° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: August (57.9°)

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Source: Doug Pensinger / Getty Images

1997
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.8° Fahrenheit – #23 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.83° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: November (58.2°)

Source: Space Frontiers / Getty Images

1998
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.1° Fahrenheit – #18 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.10° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: February (58.6°)

Source: USAF / Getty Images

1999
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.7° Fahrenheit – #29 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.68° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: February (58.2°)

Source: NASA / Getty Images

2000
> Average land-ocean temperature: 57.7° Fahrenheit – #27 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.70° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: April (58.0°)

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Source: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

2001
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.0° Fahrenheit – #21 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.95° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: November (58.3°)

Source: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

2002
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.1° Fahrenheit – #15 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.13° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: March (58.6°)

Source: Scott Barbour / Getty Images

2003
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.1° Fahrenheit – #17 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.12° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: January (58.4°)

Source: Chris Jackson / Getty Images

2004
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.0° Fahrenheit – #21 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.95° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: February (58.3°)

2005
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.2° Fahrenheit – #10 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.21° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: October (58.4°)

Source: Wathiq Khuzaie / Getty Images

2006
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.1° Fahrenheit – #15 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.13° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: December (58.4°)

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Source: David Paul Morris / Getty Images

2007
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.2° Fahrenheit – #12 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.19° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: January (58.8°)

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

2008
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.0° Fahrenheit – #20 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 0.97° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: March (58.3°)

Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images

2009
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.2° Fahrenheit – #13 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.17° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: November (58.4°)

Source: Chris Graythen / Getty Images

2010
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.3° Fahrenheit – #9 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.30° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: March (58.7°)

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Source: Majid Saeedi / Getty Images

2011
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.1° Fahrenheit – #18 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.10° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: August (58.3°)

Source: Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

2012
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.2° Fahrenheit – #13 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.17° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: October (58.4°)

Source: Michael Buckner / Getty Images

2013
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.2° Fahrenheit – #10 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.21° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: November (58.5°)

Source: Sean Gallup / Getty Images

2014
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.3° Fahrenheit – #8 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.33° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: September (58.6°)

Source: NASA / Getty Images

2015
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.6° Fahrenheit – #5 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.60° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: December (59.1°)

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images

2016
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.8° Fahrenheit – #2 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.82° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: February (59.5°)

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Source: NASA / Getty Images

2017
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.7° Fahrenheit – #4 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.66° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: March (59.1°)

Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

2018
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.5° Fahrenheit – #6 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.51° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: October (58.8°)

Source: Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

2019
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.7° Fahrenheit – #3 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.75° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: March (59.1°)

Source: flyparade / Getty Images

2020
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.8° Fahrenheit – #1 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.84° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: February (59.2°)

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Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images

2021
> Average land-ocean temperature: 58.5° Fahrenheit – #6 highest
> Anomaly from 1951-1980 avg: 1.51° above 57° Fahrenheit
> Hottest month: October (58.8°)

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