New FAOSTAT dataset on Temperature Change

Rome, 3 October 2017 - FAO launches today in FAOSTAT a new data domain, within its set of agri-environmental indicators, on Temperature change. The FAOSTAT Temperature Change dataset contains nationally-aggregated data on observed mean surface temperature changes, by country, over the period 1961–2016, with respect to the 1951-1980 climatology, takes as the reference period. This FAOSTAT dataset is developed in collaboration with the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (NASA-GISS) and will be updated annually.

The data provide information on monthly, seasonal and annual mean temperature anomalies, i.e., temperature changes with respect the reference 1951-1980 climatology. For each country, the domain also disseminates – when a minimum of 20 years of data is available – the standard deviation of the reported monthly, seasonal and annual data.

The FAOSTAT nationally-aggregated data are based on the publicly available GISTEMP data, the Global Surface Temperature Change data produced and distributed by NASA-GISS, with information from the year 1880 onward.

The original GISTEMP analysis generates a set of gridded values based on observed data from over 7,000 meteorological stations situated around the globe. A finer grid was generated for the purpose of the FAOSTAT dataset, and subsequently aggregated at country level using the FAO Global Administrative Unit Layer (GAUL). More details on the methodology can be found in FAOSTAT.

Increases in air temperature associated with climate change threaten plant growth and yield, putting millions of farmers and communities at risk throughout the world. Together with changes in precipitation and increases in extreme events such as flooding and droughts, temperature change threatens countries’ food security, and their ability to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development. Based on scientifically robust information, the FAOSTAT Temperature change database can be used to illustrate the recent warming trends in countries, facilitating public understanding of the climate change challenges to agriculture, and helping to identify possible responses necessary to minimize risk to food production. The FAOSTAT time series currently ends with the year 2016, the hottest year on record.

The FAOSTAT temperature change database contributes to the set of climate change relevant statistics that are being developed by UNECE and UNSD in cooperation with FAO.

FAOSTAT temperature change data can be elaborated into a Temperature change Index, showing that events that were statistically rare, based on the 1951-1980 climate, are becoming increasingly more frequent, in all countries worldwide. 

Mean annual temperature anomalies

Source: FAOSTAT, 2017