NASA: Easily the hottest April — and hottest Jan-April — in temperature record

Plus a new record 12-month global temperature, as predicted

For an update, see NASA: First half of 2010 breaks the thermometer “” despite “recent minimum of solar irradiance.”

To get daily email updates of the latest news and analysis on climate science, solution, and politics, click here.

It was the hottest April on record in the NASA dataset.  More significantly, following fast on the heels of the hottest March and hottest Jan-Feb-March on record, it’s also the hottest Jan-Feb-March-April on record [click on figure to enlarge].

The record temperatures we’re seeing now are especially impressive because we’ve been in “the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century.” It now appears to be over. It’s just hard to stop the march of manmade global warming, well, other than by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, that is.

Most significantly, NASA’s March prediction has come true:  “It is nearly certain that a new record 12-month global temperature will be set in 2010.”³

Software engineer (and former machinist mate in the US Navy) Timothy Chase put together a spreadsheet using the data from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (click here).  In NASA’s dataset, the 12-month running average temperature record was actually just barely set in March — and then easily set in April.

Actually, NASA first made its prediction back in January 2009:

Given our expectation of the next El Ni±o beginning in 2009 or 2010, it still seems likely that a new global temperature record will be set within the next 1-2 years, despite the moderate negative effect of the reduced solar irradiance.”

Of course, there never was any global cooling “” see Must-read AP story: Statisticians reject global cooling; Caldeira “” “To talk about global cooling at the end of the hottest decade the planet has experienced in many thousands of years is ridiculous.”

In fact, the 12-month record we just beat was set in … 2007!

Moreover, the overwhelming majority of recent warming went right where scientists had predicted “” into the oceans (see “How we know global warming is happening“):

Figure 1: “Total Earth Heat Content [anomaly] from 1950 (Murphy et al. 2009). Ocean data taken from Domingues et al 2008.”

Another 2009 article (draft here) details an analysis of “monthly gridded global temperature and salinity fields from the near-surface layer down to 2000 m depth.”

Figure 2: Time series of global mean heat storage (0-2000 m), measured in 108 Jm-2.

Still warming, after all these years!  And just where you’d expect it.  This study makes clear that upper ocean heat content, perhaps not surprisingly, is simply far more variable than deeper ocean heat content, and thus an imperfect indicator of the long-term warming trend.  And the surface temperature is even more variable.

NASA’s recent draft paper reported:  “We conclude that global temperature continued to rise rapidly in the past decade” and “that there has been no reduction in the global warming trend of 0.15-0.20°C/decade that began in the late 1970s.”

NOAA points out that both satellite data sets show about the same amount of warming as the land-based record, “which increased at a rate near 0.16°C/decade (0.29°F/decade) during the same 30-year period” “” once you remove the expected stratospheric cooling from the satellite records (see NOAA discussion here).

For the record, it was the second hottest April in both satellite records (UAH and RSS), which appear more sensitive to the El Ni±o-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) than the land records.

I asked NASA’s James Hansen last month about the apparent 12-month record confirming his prediction, and he noted, “that conclusion is sensitive to how the global mean is defined….   We will compare several alternatives in an invited review paper for Reviews of Geophysics — it should be ready within a few weeks.”

That caveat noted, it is also worth point out that “there are no permanent weather stations in the Arctic Ocean, the place on Earth that has been warming fastest,” as New Scientist explained (see here and here). “The UK’s Hadley Centre record simply excludes this area, whereas the NASA version assumes its surface temperature is the same as that of the nearest land-based stations.” Thus it is almost certainly the case that the planet has warmed up more this decade than NASA says, and especially more than the UK’s Hadley Center says (see Why are Hadley and CRU withholding vital climate data from the public? and Finally, the truth about the Hadley/CRU data: “The global temperature rise calculated by the Met Office’s HadCRUT record is at the lower end of likely warming”).

After the endless disinformation-based global cooling stories of the past few years, it’s time for the media to start do some serious fact-based global warming stories (unlike this piece of he-said, she-said journalistic crap from the Boston Globe I’ll blog on Monday).

Related Post:  Arctic poised to see record low sea ice volume this year

Cover image of Joe Romm's book, Straight Up: America's Fiercest Climate Blogger Takes on the Status Quo Media, Politicians, and Clean Energy SolutionsIf you liked this post and want to get daily email updates of the latest news and analysis on climate science, solution, and politics, click here. To buy my new book on climate, click here.


52 Responses to NASA: Easily the hottest April — and hottest Jan-April — in temperature record

  1. BillD says:

    I have not seen or heard anything in the public media about this year’s global warmth, despite rather widespread reading and watching/listening to PBS/NPR. re journalist afraid of being ridiculed after the cold winter in Europe and parts of the US? April was really hot here in the midwest. Our local paper had an article about the association between crime and air temperature. It noted that crime was down during the unusually cool January and February, but was above normal during April, when the average temp was 7oF above the long term average. In general, crime is much higher during summere than winter. The article did not mention climate change.

  2. Thanks Joe! Your headline says “hottest January”. Shouldn’t that read “hottest April”? Regards, Kees

    [JR: Doh! Fixed.]

  3. Neven says:

    Great stuff, Joe.

    Over at UAH the AMSU on the NOAA-15 satellite is showing the 2010 trace (ch05) currently going through the roof, battling it out with the incredibly steep ’20 year record high’ trace: There’s another lovely spaghetti picture for you there again, Joe, with a lonely green string hovering over all the others.

    So it’s probable that the 12 month running average will be set a tad higher after this month ends (last year’s had an anomaly of 0.56).

    Meanwhile over on denialist blogs champagne bottles are popping because the demise of El Niño has been announced. However, this might lead to cloudless skies in the Arctic summer. Now that would be a nice ironic twist, especially as Watts and his prodigal son Steve Goddard have committed themselves to predicting that Arctic sea ice will recover even more in 2010.

    But we’ll see. If 2010 turns out to be the warmest year ever recorded (perhaps even in all datasets) I hope the record isn’t too high, lest we get ‘Global Warming stopped in 2010!’ BS in a few years time. ;-)

  4. Leif says:

    It is the energy! Earlier this year we on Climate Progress visited the energy imbalance and it appears appropriate to trot out the numbers for those new folks that have tuned in. These are rough and dirty numbers but anyone can do them with a few quick Google searches and some scientific notation. Refinement is always encouraged but it is awareness that we are looking for not accuracy. The energy imbalance has been measured with exquisite accuracy and fluctuates throughout the year. Currently 0.85 +- 0.15 Watts per meter squared. SO! That equates to approximately 190,000 nuclear power plants a day dumping all their energy output directly into the oceans. With about 10 new ones coming on line every day.

    This has increased the top ~2000 feet of ocean ~1C the world over. That increase in temperature in turn evaporates more water into the atmosphere. About 4% more. How much is that. About 1.5 times the volume of Lake Superior, that is how much. Has anyone noticed any extreme precipitation events lately?
    By 2050 that will be ~3 times the volume of lake Superior!

    There is still more. That increase in temperature is potential energy stored in the oceans. Think of a BIG battery that gets charged up. That potential energy is now available to strengthen storm systems, hurricanes, Arctic out flows or even the course of the jet streams. If you think not, I ask you to look at the effects of a modest degree of two over a small stretch of the Pacific, El Nino, can have on the weather. Now think of a degree the world over.

  5. John Hollenberg says:

    Weather has been very strange here in Los Angeles–coolest Spring I can remember in many years, with Sierra snow pack significantly above normal. It may be that these local variations partially drive the news media, as most people probably aren’t interested in global warming while it is unusually cool at their location. Guess we better enjoy it while it lasts, since judging by the rest of the world we are in for some real scorchers down the line.

  6. fj2 says:

    This is more indication that the “Pearl Harbor” event triggering massive action on the accelerating environmental crisis may be rapidly upon us.

  7. mike roddy says:

    How does increased ocean heat absorption translate to higher mean ocean temperatures? Is there recent data on this?

    Salmon runs are crashing in California rivers, but remaining somewhat steady in the Northwest. Habitat is in bad shape, mostly due to logging, but I’m wondering if higher ocean and river temperatures have been shown to play a role. The habitable temperature bands of these fish is narrow.

    I would appreciate any links to studies on this subject.

  8. Andy Gunther says:

    @Mike #7:

    Check out NOAA report on Sacramento Chinook ( The cause is of salmon decline appears to be poor ocean conditions (eg, lack of prey). This is related to weak upwelling, which contributes to warmer sea surface temperatures and fewer prey items. A fascinating independent line of evidence is from PRBO Conservation Science and their long-term data on colonial sea birds on the Farallon Islands. Fledging weight is correlated with salmon returns the following year as adult birds provisioning nests forage on the same species as salmon smolts.

  9. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Joe – a thought about publicizing this latest record while also getting some income from your unique efforts in running CP.

    Supposing you were to produce say 1,000 stickers, legible at 10 yards, on the lines of:


    then I for one would be glad to send you say $10 + postage for one. I guess there must be many others frustrated at the corrupt MSM who’d gladly do the same.

    Just a thought,



  10. prokaryote says:

    1#, Health implications are violence uptake with temperature rise.

  11. Steve Bloom says:

    Joe, when mentioning the solar cycle influence on temperature don’t forget to mention that it has about a three-year lag; IOW that the current solar influence is from three years ago. IIRC solar irradiance was already pretty low three years ago, which is to say that it’s still correct to say that there’s little solar influence in current temps. It’s also important not to overstate solar influence, since it’s actually so small as to be hard to detect in the record.

  12. Mark Shapiro says:

    If those high arctic temps in Jan – April mean that the arctic ice pack is thinner, and thus more meltable, then another record low arctic sea ice extent looms. Caveats: clouds, winds, currents, ENSO, and AO are all highly variable.

    But the table is set. Our new friends Zhang et al at the PSC say:
    “September Ice Volume was lowest in 2009 at 5,800 km^3” and
    “Total Arctic Ice Volume for March 2010 is 20,300 km^3, the lowest over the 1979-2009 period”.

    Uh. Oh.

  13. Steve Bloom says:

    Re #5: California is famous for getting a heavy influence from El Nino. That’s less true inland, noting that the Colorado River watershed is in very bad shape just now.

    I think the expectation is that in the future CA will continue to benefit from El Ninos, but that they will be the context of an overall drying trend.

  14. prokaryote says:

    Record Atlantic SSTs continue in the hurricane Main Development Region

  15. linzel says:

    R. Spencer wrote about a quick decline in the pacific temps – ie the El Nino – in the past few weeks. I honestly cannot trust his manipulations. What is the current state of the strength of the El Nino? Is it in decline?

  16. Anonymous says:

    April was only the second hottest or so in the UAH record, so the denialists were celebrating, predicting rapid cooling along with the weakening El Nino. However, temps came back with a vengeance in late April and have been above the 20 year record every single day so far in May.

  17. paulm says:

    mike 7. salmon returns have utterly collapsed here in the Canadian Vancouver area for Coho. They are devistated. And no one in government here seems worried.

    Apparently i hear that there are some who are hoping for this collapse of wild salmon so farmed salmon can take over. I couldnt believe this first but it was from a very credable source.

  18. Neven says:

    What is the current state of the strength of the El Nino? Is it in decline?

    It is. Didn’t you hear the orgiastic cheering over at WUWT (‘thank god, it’s almost over! Nobody here noticed anything!’)? ;-)

    More info here:

  19. Leif says:

    Thank you for keeping me on my toes Mike Roddy, #7. My choice of words stating an average surface temperature increase of one degree C was obviously not accurate. The ocean temperature does not increase uniformly due to wind & storm mixing, tide and current mixing, ice melting and resultant latent heat transfer and all the rest. On the other hand adding the accumulation ~10 to the 21st Joules of energy to the oceans have had to raise the heat somewhat. In the NW recently a Great White Shark of about 1400 pounds was caught of Westport. Humbolt Squid as well out of Neah Bay and even as far north as Sitka in the recent past. Last years Pink Salmon run exceptionally small in average weight even though the numbers were OK. Implying a shortage of bait fish.

  20. mike roddy says:

    Thanks for responses to my question, and it’s good to note that Leif, Andy, and Paulm have the same concerns.

    Maybe the Sacramento runs will disappear, but the Klamath may go first. It’s not just the dams, it’s also the shallow and warming source in Upper Klamath Lake. The water is just going to get too warm. I used to run river trips there in the 70’s, when 150,000 fish used to head upstream, even with the dams present. It’s a pittance now, something related to feeder streams and the river itself becoming too hot to support eggs and fry. Studies show major microclimate temperature increases from logging, which probably can’t be tolerated with global warming and shorter winters thrown in. Is that going on in Vancouver too, Paulm?

    As for the ocean- Andy, what are the causes of the decline in Pacific upwelling? Is this related to ocean currents being altered by heat absorption? What do you think, Leif?

  21. Michael T says:

    linzel (#16)

    NOAA & the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) have a full report on El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and it is updated every week on Mondays:


  22. Leif says:

    Up welling dead zone problems on the Pacific North West Coast are poorly understood being it is a fairly new problem first reported in 2002 if memory serves me correct. The last report that I read which was months ago seamed to point to shifting wind patterns in the summer caused by global warming. However there was no consensus at that time. The area affected is about the size of New Jersey ranging from south central Oregon to the Straits of Juan de Fuca. There is minimal agriculture run off within that area as well as minimal industrial pollutants. So that does not leave many alternatives. Whatever the cause, fish, sea birds, and sea mammals are taking a hit. It is all very disheartening, occurring in otherwise relatively pristine waters.

    If you stumble on any new reports Mike, please post. Thank you, Leif.

  23. dan p says:

    The NOAA data set also has this as the hottest April on record:

    though they haven’t put up their summary report yet. Calculating from the NOAA data at the link, the running 12-month average anomaly of +.64 from 1998 hasn’t been exceeded yet (currently at +.61) but likely will be in another two months.


  24. Leif says:

    Pacific NW Dead Zone report, Oct 2009. This is the most recent report that I found relating to the NW Dead Zone, Mike. They did allude to the fact that the warmer waters might be a factor but again still speculation.

  25. PKM says:

    Try and get it right….The only month this year to have set a new global average temperature record is April…the other three months all appear to be the second highest in the NASA GISS analyis.

    [JR: March was a statistical tie for hottest in NASA dataset — and hottest in both satellite records — as the link explains.]

  26. David Gould says:


    It was the hottest January to April period on record. That is what the phrase ‘Hottest Jan-April’ means.

  27. paulm says:

    Not sure if there is connection, but interesting….

    Seasonality and Increasing Frequency of Greenland Glacial Earthquakes;311/5768/1756

  28. Edward says:

    4 Leif “Has anyone noticed any extreme precipitation events lately?”

    Here in the corn belt the fields are still too wet to plant. That is very unusual. May seems cool because it is rainy all the time. The “Climate Pearl Harbor” could have something to do with the next corn harvest. Corn used to be 6 feet tall by July 4th. I doubt that that will happen this year.

  29. Peter Honeyman says:

    First paragraph: “It was the hottest April on record in the NASA dataset … hottest March and hottest Jan-Feb-March … also the hottest Jan-Feb-March-April on record.”

  30. sailrick says:

    mike roddy
    regarding salmon and seawater temps.
    During the 1982 El Nino, I worked on a commercial fishing boat out of Sausalito, CA. We were salmon trolling, but were getting more mackeral and bonita which would ordinarily be in southern California or Mexican waters. Salmon were hard to find. We had to switch over to bottom fishing for rock cod, for the season. Someone even caught a marlin in San Francisco Bay that summer.

    Commercial albacore tuna fishermen follow the temperature gradient to find the fish, which like warmer water than normally found close to the coast here. Boats go out 100 miles or more searching for albacore, but during El Nino, they were catching them around the Farralone Islands about 26 miles offshore.

    I guess most of the salmon that would have spawned that year stayed at sea a year longer. What happens if the water keeps getting warmer?
    Habitat, where they spawn in rivers and streams, is the biggest issue for salmon, IMO. Changes in how agriculture is done, and desalination for SoCal cities would help improve the fresh water situation.

  31. linzel wrote in 16 :

    R. Spencer wrote about a quick decline in the pacific temps – ie the El Nino – in the past few weeks. I honestly cannot trust his manipulations. What is the current state of the strength of the El Nino? Is it in decline?

    Neven responded in 19:

    It is. Didn’t you hear the orgiastic cheering over at WUWT (‘thank god, it’s almost over! Nobody here noticed anything!’)?

    More info here:

    One point about El Nino dropping — in large part what that means is that the hot water that has welled up in the equatorial East Pacific is being dispersed and circulated outside of that region, so as the El Nino goes into decline the land and sea global temperature anomaly rises for a while since the dispersion increases the surface area between the anomalously warm water and the atmosphere. There is supposed to be a lag between El Nino and global temperature of about 3-6 months.

    The peak for the El Nino 3.4 region was in the week of 2009.12.14-20. If I am not mistaken, that puts the expected peak global average temperature roughly from late March to late June. In the case of the 1997 El Nino, the 3.4 region peaked in November of 1997. The peak global temperature anomaly was in February 1998 according to NASA GISS, CRUTEM3vgl (Hadley land and sea variance adjusted), and NOAA, and according to these temperature indices the peak consecutive 12 month average was in either September (NASA GISS), October (CRUTEM3vgl), or August (NOAA) of 1998. I don’t think we have a new record CRUTEM3vgl 12-month average in the deck this year, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if NOAA has a new record 12-month average — which be the first since 1998.

    El Nino 3.4 Figures can be found here:


  32. Neven says:

    linzel, here’s another interesting thing to look at:

    What I did is a bit crude (I’m not a scientist), but I’ve added up all the numbers for every specific ENSO event and divided the total by the amount of months the event lasted, to get an impression of the relative ‘strength’ of this El Niño. Here’s the top 5:

    1997 1.738 13 months
    1982 1.393 14 months
    1972 1.318 11 months
    2009 1.190 10 months
    1991 1.133 15 months

  33. PKM says:

    To David Gould #28

    Clearly, the multi month periods JFM and JFMA 2010 are the hottest on record, I never claimed otherwise!

    I stand by what I said……

  34. Dr. Corndog says:

    “He said, she said?” I really don’t think you have any idea what that article is about.

    [JR: Huh?]

  35. Greg says:

    B.S.! Don’t believe it. It was pretty dang cold in the midwest and in the San Francisco area this year. Just another giant push to make us pay more taxes and make us ‘feel’ bad for being human.

    [JR: Thanks for bringing those anti-science talking points here!]

  36. Barry says:

    Re: Salmon and climate change (mike #8 and others).

    I researched climate impacts on BC Salmon a few years ago and wrote an article on it. I’ve posted a copy on my website:

    There are many documented impacts on salmon from climate. It is death by a thousand cuts. A few are:

    — bigger spring rise in rivers scouring spawning gravels
    — earlier spring rise in rivers out of sync with salmon hatching
    — warmer spring river waters causing eggs to hatch so soon that not fully developed
    — summer river flows decreasing causing low oxygen, over-heating, increased diseases and just too little water to move upstream
    — sea level rise shrinking estuaries reducing habitat and food for juvenile salmon
    — warmer oceans favouring predators of juvenile salmon
    — warmer oceans reducing feed fish of salmon
    — ocean acidification harming primary salmon feed

    Our fossil fuel burning is loading the dice against any particular salmon run being successful in any given year. The net impact is laid on top of sea lice threats and competition from salmon farms…as well as logging impacting on rivers. All three need changing soon.

  37. mike roddy says:

    Thanks, Leif and Barry. I’ll check all this out tonight when I have time.

  38. robhon says:

    It’s fascinating. You can so clearly see the cold arctic oscillation over the US and Europe in that diagram of 2010.

  39. Jim Eager says:

    The NOAA State of the Climate Global Analysis for April 2010 is out:

    – The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for April 2010 was the warmest on record at 14.5°C (58.1°F), which is 0.76°C (1.37°F) above the 20th century average of 13.7°C (56.7°F).

    – The worldwide ocean surface temperature was 0.57°C (1.03°F) above the 20th century average of 16.0°C (60.9°F) and the warmest April on record.

    – The April worldwide land surface temperature was 1.29°C (2.32°F) above the 20th century average of 8.1°C (46.5 °F)—the third warmest on record.

    – For the year-to-date, the global combined land and ocean surface temperature of 13.3°C (56.0°F) was the warmest January-April period. This value is 0.69°C (1.24°F) above the 20th century average.

  40. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    While it is excellect to see the hottest years depicted graphically, and very impressively, I get the impression (as a farmer) that global temperature is only a poor surrogate for the intensifying climate destabilization now being experienced.

    – Here in the Cambrian Mountains of Wales, the year began with a throwback winter, with -18C temps, with months of snowfalls forming an ice crust you could walk on, and that the sheep couldn’t break through to uncover anything to eat. Only tractors could grip the road ice, and, though dangerous, they had to be used to pull trailers to replenish livestock feeds.
    – A drought then began, while we still had snow lying on the tops, and the tracks turned dusty (in February!) as springs, normally good till July, began drying up.
    – A brief monsoon then began, with three weeks of intense downpours waterlogging the fields and turning the tracks to mudslides.
    We then returned to drought, with many springs drying up.
    – In the last fortnight we’ve had some showers, but the fields are rock hard. Owing to the shortage of temperate rains, and to frost almost every night until a few days ago, there is scarcely any new grass at all for the livestock. Old boys say it is the worst year for grass they’ve ever seen. This hits the ewes badly, and thus their provision of milk for their lambs.

    All this is but the latest in a curve of climate destabilization, with June to September monsoons precluding hay crops and destroying arable crops in much of western Britain for the last two summers.

    I don’t in any way belittle the importance of the global temperature index, but to tell the story of its dire conequences, I rather think we’re going to need an additional index measuring climate destabilization.

    If anyone has any bright ideas how that might best be done, or knowledge of people working on the issue, I’d be very glad to hear about them.



  41. David Gould says:


    What do you mean ‘you stand by what you said’? Your post claimed that someone here has it wrong. Yet clearly they have not, as it is obvious what is meant. Can you clarify

  42. Leif says:

    Lewis, #42: I would suggest watching commodity prices the world over. Another might be the number of people starving or listed on the hunger rolls. Although that would be after the fact. Perhaps harvest amounts are trackable as well. Import, export tallies might also be an avenue.

  43. Brad Arnold says:

    The biggest danger is severe heat waves that will cause ecosystems to collapse. Average heat is just an indirect way to measure an increased probability of catastrophic heat waves (in other words, the current record average temperatures are foreshadowing catastrophic heat waves in the future). Ecosystems go into quick decline when warming reaches a certain threshold. Leemans and Eickhout (2004) found that more ecosystems collapse as warming speeds up:

    If the warming is 0.1 °C per decade, 5 percent of ecosystems will collapse.

    If the warming is 0.3 °C per decade, 15 percent of ecosystems will collapse.

    If the rate exceeds 0.4 °C per decade, all ecosystems will be quickly destroyed.

  44. climateprogressive says:

    Lewis #42 – whereabouts in the Cambrian Mountains are you roughly?

    I’m in Machynlleth – see for some images of the past winter here.

    I grow veg as many of us do and rainfall-wise we’re OK here now, but I’m keeping a very beady eye on things…

  45. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    John –

    it’s good to know that central Wales has such a disproportionate presence on Climate Progress.
    I’ve known and much enjoyed your site for a while – having first found it through Transition Wales if I remember rightly.

    My place is between Elan & Llanwrthwl, a bit west of Rheadre, and is the only farm where the lane goes through the yard. Do call in if ever you’re over this way – it would be good to meet up.



  46. Mike Elliott says:

    I’m no scientist but just a man in the street. Its very interesting to see everybody is talking about it getting warmer along with the effects of it getting warmer but theres no discussion about what is causing the increases. Can anyone put forward a position on what is causing the warming and what evidence there is for what they propose.

  47. Leif says:

    Mike Elliott, #48: Since you are here I would start with the “Most popular posts” at the top of the page.

  48. Joss Garman says:

    @ Lewis @ 47 and @ climate progressive @ 46… I’m a Mid Wales person from just the east side of Rheadre…! It seems we’ve got a little climate progress hub in Wales…

  49. Quinx says:

    Well, it’s May 22, 2010 and I have an inch of new snow sitting on the ground outside right now at my home in Idaho. Whatever you guys think you are measuring, it sure isn’t the temperature around here. Try going outside with a thermometer now and then.

  50. FutureUser says:

    Until somebody starts accounting for localized warming around these weather stations — from residential/commercial development over the past few decades — all bets are off. I am highly suspicioua of measurement data that ignores the ambient temperatures of the measurement zones. A few hundred weather stations on a globe the size of Earth does not do justice to the volume of air to be measured.