The global average temperature, presumably accurately calculated in the same way for the last 140 years (otherwise it is not very scientific, see below), is a measure of thermal energy storage—that is what temperature is a measure of. Addressing the specific heat capacity of the various molecules is the correct method of ascertaining their independent effects upon temperature.
The maps above from images supplied by NOAA shows the number of weather stations beginning in 1891, through 1980, and on the right shows those numbers in a chart. The orange line on the right shows where approximately our societies can begin to even use “global temperature data”, because the data was not consistently generated, from enough disparate and truly global sources, before about 1960.
Scientists have also devised proxies of temperatures, from many sources, including Greenland Ice Core Project borehole temperatures, pollen studies, sea sediments, diatoms, speleothem data from caves, stalagmite oxygen isotopes, etc., in total 18 series of disparate data sources with wide geographical coverage, as shown in a well-known chart of temperature proxy estimations for the last 2,000 years, below. This proxy data does not show warming, in spite of media coverage to the contrary.
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