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enter image description here This article in the LA Times says:

The first detailed global temperature measurements were recorded in 1880. Since then, nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2002, according to NOAA.

Presumably with each year there were more temperature sampling sites. How do you compare global temperature maps between years when there are far greater sampling sites in recent years?

  • Interesting question. I'm not a statistician, but my gut feeling is that you'd need to rely on the sampling sites common to all years to have a solid result. – elrobis Jan 20 '16 at 18:19
  • @elrobis It is unlikely there are more than a handful of continuous sampling sites during that period. Regardless, focusing on them alone would eliminate a lot of useful data. The solution has been described in many threads here concerning other applications: you interpolate. Even though modern methods may exploit comprehensive remote sensing coverage, which scarcely requires interpolation, that wasn't available in 1880, for which interpolation is a necessity in order to make any kind of map. – whuber Jan 21 '16 at 15:04
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The analysis is done by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. You can find more information on the methodology at the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) website.

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