2014 $1.15 Sea Surface Temperatures
The round stamp is the third Global Forever stamp issued. Released on Earth Day, this stamp was inspired by a model by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) of the earth’s climate. It shows one frame in a 1,460-frame animation of Earth’s climate. North America is in the center with portions of South America, Asia, and Europe along the edges.
Benjamin Franklin made some of the first scientific studies of the Atlantic Ocean’s surface temperature on his voyages from North America to Europe. His simple measurements, using a mercury thermometer, laid the foundation for further experiments on ocean temperatures and their effect on weather.
The surface temperature of the ocean varies daily, influenced by sunlight, wind, and the seasons. Warmer waters, in turn, create changes in the weather, causing typhoons and hurricanes to form or intensify. These disturbances lower the ocean temperatures by mixing colder deep water with the warmer waves at the surface.
In the Pacific Ocean, a long-term warming of a few degrees can trigger an El Niño weather pattern. As warm water travels east, it causes droughts in southern Asia and Australia and increased rainfall in the southwestern U.S. The conditions can last up to two years, having a serious impact on the fishing industry as well as harvests along the shores.
Continued study, including the use of satellite images, provides a better understanding of weather patterns. This knowledge leads to advanced warnings, allowing preparations for unusual weather events. Still, scientists know they can never control the forces of nature affecting the temperatures of the Earth’s oceans.
$1.15 Sea Surface Temperature, issued to satisfy the international one-ounce rate
Issue Date: April 22, 2014, Earth Day
City: Washington, DC, at a U.S. Department of Energy Community Day event
Quantity: 25 million
Printed By: Ashton Potter USA Ltd.
Printing Method: Lithographed, sheets of 50 with five panes of 10 per sheet
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut
Global Forever Series
On January 28, 2013, the USPS issued the first stamp in its Global Forever Series. These stamps are used on international mail.
Up until the mid-to-late 1800s, mail sent to other countries was regulated by a number of different agreements that were binding only to signing members. Then in 1874, representatives from 22 nations met in Bern, Switzerland to discuss a better system, and to found the General Postal Union (later called the Universal Postal Union).
The Universal Postal Union revolutionized how mail was sent between countries. They decided that there should be a uniform rate to mail a letter anywhere in the world, that domestic and international mail should be treated equally, and that each country should keep all money collected for international postage. It also made sending international mail easier in another important way. Previously, people had to attach a stamp from each country their mail would pass through. This no longer was necessary. Participating countries also standardized postal rates and units of weight.
Another major development in the delivery of international mail came in 1920, with the establishment of international airmail. In the early years, airmail was flown between the US and Canada and Cuba. By late 1930, the US was delivering airmail to nearly every country in the Western Hemisphere. Service continued to expand to Europe and other parts of the world in the coming years.
In May 1977, airmail as a separate class of domestic mail ended when the USPS announced that First Class postage would provide the same or better service. And 30 years later, international airmail ended on May 14, 2007, though airmail stamps continued to be issued into 2012.
In October 2012, the USPS filed to change international mailing prices. Additionally, following the popularity of the domestic Forever stamps, first issued in 2007, they decided to start issuing Global Forever stamps. These new stamps would simplify international mail, by offering a single stamp for all international destinations.
Issued on January 28, 2013, the first Global Forever stamp had a face value of $1.10. The international rate stamp could be used on one-ounce letters sent overseas and two-ounce letters to Canada. Fittingly, this first stamp pictured a three-dimensional image of the Earth. The image was created by using satellite data and centers over the blue of the Atlantic Ocean, South America, and West Africa. To differentiate the classes of Forever stamps, the Global Series is a round stamp and has the word “GLOBAL” printed right on it. At least one Global Forever stamp has been issued every year since, except for 2015.