UAH Global temperature data for Feb08: near zero anomaly

Last month I posted the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) Microwave Sounder Unit (MSU) data for January 2008 with a note that it showed a sharp drop from January 2007 data.

The February data from UAH is out. You can see it the raw data yourself here

It shows a slight rebound from the -0.046°C value of January 2008 to 0.016°C for a slight change (∆T) of .062°C upwards.


click for a larger image

It appears the La Niña in the Pacific and the solar minimum are continuing to affect temperatures globally, resulting in this cooler period for the last 13 months in January 2007.


click for a larger image

Below: A plot of sunspots showing our current position in the solar minimum. Note the uncertainty for the two projections of the next cycle 24.


I’ll plot the other metrics (RSS, GISS, HadCRUT) as soon as they are available. I expect the RSS data to be published soon, perhaps in the next day or two.

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March 6, 2008 3:51 pm

You are QUICK, Anthony. I’ve been clicking on RSS and UAH data several times a day to see if there was an update. Figures as soon as I leave for home…..

March 6, 2008 7:09 pm

Solar cycle #24 coming up.

March 6, 2008 8:00 pm

The sunspot plot with data through Feb 08 is available at . Not surprisingly to those keeping an eye on the sun, there’s no sign of leaving the minimum yet.
Note that says “The panel expects to issue a preliminary prediction in the spring of 2007. The panel also expects to issue updates to this prediction on an annual basis until a final prediction is issued, approximately 30 months after cycle 24 has begun.” is the March 2007 statement, I assume a new one will be issued soon.

March 7, 2008 1:57 am

People are forever calling this cooling a localised La Nina in the pacific. Well that may be the focus but surely if Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history we are not looking at simply a localised La Nina. Look at this piccie … is this just a La Nina?
Check the Indian ocean surface cooling and see that it is in the tropics and mainly on the equator like the pacific cooling. Check also where the warmer surface is being pushed ….i.e to the higher latitudes and its leading edge is not unremarkably the warmest.
Does anyone get the picture of what’s happening?

Bob B
March 7, 2008 3:44 am

For those interested Leif Svalgaard who is on the sunspot committee keeps a research page and updates weekly some interesting parameters of our Sun. His sunspot record go to Feb2008:,%20SW,%20and%20Solar%20Data.pdf

March 7, 2008 4:07 am

“for a slight change (∆T) of .05°C upwards”
Slight change? That’s a rate of 60 degrees per century!

Bob B
March 7, 2008 5:44 am

For those who are interested Leif Svalgaard keeps a weekly
update on sunspots on his research web page.,%20SW,%20and%20Solar%20Data.pdf

March 7, 2008 5:53 am

A couple notes on the UAH raw data. While the northern hemisphere (NH) went 0.33 degrees to above average, the SH data went below average for the first time in, well, not so long ago, May & June 2006. The 12 month average continued to fall thanks to dropping Feb 2007, a very warm month. March 2007 was also warm, after that goes the global average ought to level off. Then again, I may still have snow on the ground in April here near Concord NH and it’s snowing in Dallas TX today (cool!), so no promises.
Has anyone experimented with non-linear averages? Unix & related systems record a “load average” that has an exponential decay that is trivial to compute, e.g. a new value is something like 5% of the current load plus 95% of the previous average. The problem with the 12 month average we have is that the weather a year ago is just as important as current weather. That’s defensible for looking at historical data, but not so nice for looking at current conditions or projecting trends.

Ric Delgado
March 7, 2008 7:50 am

Andrew, I’m no scientist, but one theme that I keep rading in your posts is the connection that the lack of solar activity is a major cause for global cooling. Have you plotted together the data for Sunspot activity and Global Temperature? Looking by eye it appears that as sunspot activity was moving in a downward trend, global temperature was moving in an upwards trend? I do acknowledge that the ISES Data only dates back to 2000 while the MSU Global Temperature dates back to 1979, and therefore not necessarily the best two plots to compare by eye.
REPLY: Anthony is the name. I do have a plot, will do that soon.

March 7, 2008 7:57 am

“Slight change? That’s a rate of 60 degrees per century!”
Uh, we fell .15 in Jan. That would be a drop of 180 degrees per century!
That Feb change still leaves us way below the trend line. So it will continue to pull the trend line down.

March 7, 2008 8:01 am

“Looking by eye it appears that as sunspot activity was moving in a downward trend, global temperature was moving in an upwards trend?”
No, sun spot activity was moving in an upward trend until solar cycle 23. 23 was a medium activity cycle. Also remember, that the ocean lag that is built into CO2 warming is also built into solar effect.

March 7, 2008 9:46 am

Ric, there must be some multiplier of the sun’s output to cause greater changes in climate. There is also probably a lag between what the sun puts out and changes in the climate. The Svalgaard thread, now three of them, on are examining these questions in excruciating detail.
Answer: the mechanism by which the sun’s output is magnified probably include clouds, ultraviolet radiation, and outgoing longwave radiation.
I think I’ve never heard so loud
The quiet message in a cloud.

March 7, 2008 9:49 am

Does anyone know if this latest spot is Cycle 23 or Cycle 24. Which way whirls it?

Jim Arndt
March 7, 2008 10:19 am

Anthony it would be nice to see the geomagnetic index plotted also. I think that has more bearing on temperature i.e CRF.
REPLY: I did that some posts back, see this:

March 7, 2008 10:53 am

Kim, there was one earlier this week that disappeared so quickly that it didn’t even have a number assigned to it. The last official spot was still on cycle 23. There hasn’t been a spot on Cycle 24 for 2 months now since the reversed one appeared in early January.
It’s just….not……starting……….
We live in interesting times. 🙂

Jim Arndt
March 7, 2008 11:02 am

Here is a piece that make a case for solar influence on climate.

March 7, 2008 11:06 am

NOAA releases US temp data for Feb 08.
“The average temperature in February 2008 was 34.9 F. This was 0.2 F warmer than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average, the 52nd warmest February in 114 years.”
Not asquite as low as January 08, but still continuing the current cooling trend.

March 7, 2008 2:26 pm

I wonder what the number would be if they continued to use the base period they used to use: 1950-1981? The early 20th century was quite cold, and using that data as a base might bring the baseline down some.
Just think out loud again. They’ve just recently swiched to 1901-2000 base period.

Gary Gulrud
March 7, 2008 2:32 pm

Every time a month passes the NOAA/SWPC chart is redrawn with the lower and higher forecasts (the committee has divided in two over cycle 24) but the minimum always slides a month or two ahead of the current results.
Wishful thinking for certain. I’m betting next March.

March 7, 2008 3:07 pm

This is interesting.
SH ice:
NH ice:
Looks to me like the SH has turned the corner and has started building ice already, earlier than last year. And the NH is still building, so it appears *both* hemispheres are gaining ice coverage right now.
Is that normal? Seriously, I really don’t know if it is or not…

March 7, 2008 3:59 pm

[…] UAH Global temperature data for Feb08: near zero anomaly Last month I posted the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) Microwave Sounder Unit (MSU) data for January 2008 with […] […]

March 7, 2008 4:23 pm

Looking at this piccie again.
Just seems the sun is implicated as the driver of this change. Why is the surface cooling across the tropics and mainly on the equator like the Indian and Pacific cooling forming a particularly noticeable band? Why does it appear clearly that the warmer surface is being pushed to the higher latitudes with its leading edge showing as the warmest? Plenty of questions and Jim Arndt’s post to Cloud_temp_tropo.pdf offers pretty good thoughts on the matter.
However, just my thoughts here. One feels that there are always plenty of cosmic rays high in the air, but they and the ions that they liberate are in short supply at low altitudes, so that increases or decreases due to changes in solar magnetism have more noticeable consequences lower down and I suspect at lower latitudes too. Further, as we approach what appears to be an extended solar minimum we are seeing this associated with this cloudy and cooler period across the tropics. This lack of warmth in the ocean will eventually transfer to the high latitudes north and south creating changes. i.e. the cosmic-ray and cloud-forcing hypothesis. Any comment?

March 7, 2008 5:07 pm

It shows a slight rebound from the -0.046°C value of January 2008 to 0.016°C for a slight change (∆T) of .05°C upwards.
Am I missing something? -0.046 delta 0.016 is 0.06°C upwards is it not?
REPLY: you are correct, I had a typo, which is fixed now. Thanks for pointing it out.

Earle Williams
March 7, 2008 5:46 pm

There’s a pretty broad range of normal in the global sea ice, just in the 29 years of satellite observation. This image shows some past levels:

March 7, 2008 6:07 pm

Andrew, are you coming to the city again soon?
REPLY: Jeez, who are you talking to? If it is the blog owner, Anthony, then yes I’ll be there sometime in the next month.

March 7, 2008 7:05 pm

I played around with anomaly baselines at the NOAA site and for 1981 to 2008 February data got a declining (albeit it small) temperature trend. Supposedly the period we have seen ‘unprecedented ‘warming.
Interesting, you have to go back 30 or more years (into the pre-satellite data) to find a significant warming trend.
REPLY: The link doesn’t work for anyone not on your pc

Gary Gulrud
March 8, 2008 5:01 am

I think Jim may have understated the value of the link he passed above:
I’d say it’ll be top ten at year’s end.

John Willit
March 8, 2008 9:30 am

The NOAA now has a new animation tool for sea surface temperatures that highlights what is really going on with the La Nina / El Nino.
It is really Trade Wind-driven phenomenon.
This five-month animation can be sped up so that you can see the cooler patches of La Nina water getting blown across the Pacific (I assume the warmer surface water at the equator is then getting replaced by cooler deeper ocean water at the South American coast.)

Colonel Sun
March 8, 2008 10:30 am

It would be very informative to see a plot of the geomagnetic data with the 2 satellite temperature data along with the CO2 data over the same period of time.

Colonel Sun
March 8, 2008 10:31 am

The geomagnetic data from the link below
Does the geomagnetic spice correspond with the temperature spike in 1999?
REPLY: A worthwhile endeavor. I’ll make a post on it soon.

Colonel Sun
March 8, 2008 10:32 am

Uh, make that geomagnetic spike 😉

March 8, 2008 5:54 pm

If it has bottomed out for the year it isn’t closer to zero anomaly than the 2004 low. It is still indicative of a warming trend if it rises rapidly in the coming months. It’s funny, many of you bash the global warming alarmists for jumping to conclusions and yet you make your own conclusions at the second you intercept data. Hence if you are right and they are wrong it still won’t be because you apply stronger more scientifically solid methods, it’ll just be because you chanced to pick the better inference rule to begin with.

Stephen Fox
March 9, 2008 3:48 am

good point, which reflects how polarised the issue has become. I agree (as a non-expert) the anomaly of the last 12 months could be reversed, and still fit with an upward trend. Anthony has been scupulous in pointing this out.
However, you gloss over something when you speak of inference rules ‘you chanced to pick up’. It is my impression that the alarmists by no means ‘chanced’ to pick up the notion that we were doomed to fry unless we trashed industry, motorised travel and incandescent light bulbs. They wanted precisely that, and were glad to find a reason to justify it. This is why their predictions were so extreme.
As to why they should wish for such things, I’ll leave alone here, as this is a science blog, and I doubt Anthony will thank me for slipping in a theory of post-Communist ecological millenarian self-Flagellation… oh damn, I’ve said it now.

Colonel Sun
March 9, 2008 7:07 am

Thanks for your prompt reply. The following paper by Georgieva et al compares sunspot number and the ak geomagnetic ratio
and concludes that the latter correlates much better than the former.
However, their data only goes up to yr 2000 and I don’t think that they used satellite data for global temperature. Thus my interest in a continuation of their plot. And you have the requisite data. Thank you.

Colonel Sun
March 9, 2008 7:09 am

That’s correlates much better with global temperature.

March 10, 2008 8:54 am
Pamela Gray
March 23, 2008 9:06 am

The green side of this debate has often pointed my attention to research-based computer models demonstrating that increased CO2 will continue to cause global warming, in spite of small irradiation temperature changes caused by the sun factored into the equations.
Not so fast. It seems to me that the sun’s many different “rays” it sends , and sometimes shoots our way (those we can see or feel, and those we can’t see or feel – or haven’t discovered yet), would have a variety of effects. To ignore them, discount them, minimize them, or even worse, disregard the important null hypothesis beginning point of view for any theory you explore or adhere to, seems decidedly unscientific whether your science is green or not.
If I were to state a hypothesis for global warming being human caused I would want to disprove that view in order to make my case stronger. I would be forced to consider the sun and its many different cosmic rays as potentially strong disproving variables. There is lots we already know. Some types of rays have larger effects with small changes, others have small effects with larger changes, some have only small effects with small changes, still others have large effects with large changes, and some seem only to entertain us as they pass us by. Some may eat ozone, some may simply heat us up much like the coils on a burner, and some may even cause the ocean to froth and boil. I am willing to bet there are many other sun-related effects we haven’t begun to understand and may not even know about. My point is that if you adhere to one or the other point of view, you MUST consider and explore all of these variables as potential theory busters that could readily disprove your heated arguments.
Let’s say I am a green scientist in search of the Nobel Prize II. In my exploration, statistical analysis, and model building of all variables I would be forced to consider many, maybe even hundreds or thousands of models. For example, what if the sun decided to stop shooting its “rays” as strongly as before and our ozone layer thickened up, causing sun reflection from the outside. What if the ocean was in a more CO2 absorbing phase (IE cool and calm), causing insulation thinning from the inside? What if I caused these two things to come together in my model (which I could calculate as a random occurrence or a long term cycle)? Would I be spending my prize money on long underwear? I have yet to see evidence that this kind of extensive null hypothesis model building has been done.
Here’s what I do. Every time someone shows me their modeled theory, I always ask the following question: “Disprove it!”

Peter Rafinate
September 17, 2008 4:45 pm

As the earth has warmed in the past century and the Earth glaciers of the ice age have retreated, so have the ice caps on Mars also retreated from increased energy from the sun.(unless those pesky Martians have been over using their internal combustion engines again) There just might be a more plausible explanation for the concurrent rise of Earth temperature and small increase of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Carbon dioxide may not the cause of global warming but the result of global warming. The greenhouse gas, CO2, in the air is not a new thing. Volcanoes have been releasing it for years. So why hasn’t it build up in the air turning this planet into the desert of Hell? It does not build up in the air because it is soluble in water and rain delivers it to our lakes, rivers and oceans where it forms a weak, very dilute, carbonic acid. (yes, it is more complicated than that, carbon dioxide reacts in more than one way and the carbonic acid that it forms can further react with other elements such as calcium to form the insoluble calcium carbonate.) But let’s keep this discussion simple . There have been many previous times in the earth’s long history where the earth’s temperature rose and at the same time it can be confirmed from old ice cores that the amount of carbon dioxide in the air also rose. As the earth temperature rises and it’s waters warm, the solubility of carbon dioxide in water decreases, so carbon dioxide must be released from water, to where, where else, the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide in the air is in equilibrium with the amount in the water. (I said simple, let’s keep the amount the trees use as a constant) I have compared the loss of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s water from water temperature rise and find it comparable to the amount of gain in the Air. I ask others confirm my calculation.

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