Earth Surface Temperature

by Fraser Cain on December 22, 2009

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Earth Surface Temperature

Sea temperature model


The average Earth surface temperature is 14° C. That’s 287 kelvin, or 57.2° F.

As you probably realize, that number is just an average. The Earth’s temperature can be much higher or lower than this temperature. In the hottest places of the planet, in the deserts near the equator, the temperature on Earth can get as high as 57.7° C. And then in the coldest place, at the south pole in Antarctica, the temperature can dip down to -89° C.

The reason the average temperature on Earth is so high is because of the atmosphere. This acts like a blanket, trapping infrared radiation close to the planet and warming it up. Without the atmosphere, the temperature on Earth would be more like the Moon, which rises to 116° C in the day, and then dips down to -173° C at night.

We’ve written several articles about the temperature of the planets. Here’s an article about the temperature of all the planets, and here’s an article about the temperature of the Moon.

If you’d like more information on the Earth, check out NASA’s Solar System Exploration Guide on Earth. And here’s a link to NASA’s Earth Observatory.

We’ve also recorded an entire episode of Astronomy Cast all about Earth. Listen here, Episode 51: Earth.

About 

Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

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