UAH Satellite data: Globally, 2008 significantly cooler than last year

One of the great things about our current state of technology is the nearly instant reporting we can get from remote sensing platforms. Thanks to  Dr. Roy Spencer & Dr. Danny Braswell, GHCC at the University of Alabama, Hunsville, we can watch global temperatures of the lower troposphere in near real-time at this page:

According to UAH: Daily averaged temperatures of the Earth are measured by the AMSU flying on the NOAA-15 satellite. The satellite passes over most points on the Earth twice per day, at about 7:30 am and 7:30 pm local time. The AMSU measures the average temperature of the atmosphere in different layers from the surface up to about 135,000 feet or 41 kilometers. During global warming, the atmosphere near the surface is supposed to warm at least as fast as the surface warms, while the upper layers are supposed to cool much faster than the surface warms.

But as I understand it, the lower troposphere is supposed to be closely coupled to CO2 induced forcings. As we’ve seen from comparison to surface data sets such as HadCRUT, the UAH MSU lower troposphere tracks fairly well with surface temps.

You can learn more about how the Advanced Microwave Sounder Unit on NOAA-15 works and what coverage it has here at my post on it the instrument.

According to the UAH data For 2008, we are averaging about .4 to .5 degrees C cooler than last year. See the graph and click it for a larger one:

Click for larger graph

This tracks with some of the anecdotal eveidence we’ve been seeing in the weather in the northen hemisphere this spring, with late snowfalls, late frosts, and below normal temperatures. The northern latitude areas such as Canada have been very slow to have a spring season.



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Daryl Ritchison

In Fargo, ND we are finishing our sixth straight month of below average temperatures (never a good thing in this climate), plus, we had our latest frost since 1969 this spring (I hope it was our last). A huge departure from last year’s relatively mild year (by our standards).

Pierre Gosselin

I’m sure Hansen will have something to say about that.


At what height are satellite data reported from this link, which is what is commonly referenced?
Why doesn’t ch4 have a 20 yr average? ChLT shows consistently higher than the 20 yr avg.
When it said temperature trends should increase with height according to AGW hypothesis, what exactly does that mean? A breakdown of those layers would be helpful for everyone.

Rod Smith

I’m being picky, but…
Quote: The satellite passes over most points on the Earth twice per day, at about 7:30 am and 7:30 pm local time.
This is quite a trick! What does it do the rest of the time?

Alex Llewelyn

Probably a coincidence but if you remove the seasonal trend, 2008 appears almost exactly inversely proportional to 2007; when temperatures rose above the overall trend in 2007, temperatures fell in 2008. Weird…


Rob, time zones . . . in each place it passes it is around 7:30 and 19:30.

Robert Wood

Hansen might say: “Short term trends don’t mean anything. You need to look at longer trends, from, oh let’s say, 1600”.

Mike Kelley

Here in Southern Montana, the Beartooth Mountains look as white as they would normally look in March. I know short-term weather is only significant if it confirms the Warmers’ theology, but it does seem like we have returned to some cooler patterns. Beartooth Pass opened up in late May, but it was then shut down again by a big dump of snow. It is back open now but icy-

Jeff Alberts

Hansen might say: “Short term trends don’t mean anything. You need to look at longer trends, from, oh let’s say, 1600″.

He WOULD say that, picking another cool period so we see a warming trend. How about going back to 1000 CE or 1 CE…

That’s rather amazing. Not only is it cooler on average, there doesn’t appear to be a single cross over in the 2007 and 2008 traces.

Chance Metz

Lets see how long this data takes to be turned the other way,not long I bet.

[…] Tags: cooler, cooling, Global Cooling, la nina, satellites Related Posts […]

Roger Carr

I would be interested in reading comment on this:
“Warming maximum in the tropical upper troposphere deduced from thermal winds”
Robert J. Allen & Steven C. Sherwood (Naural Geoscience, 25 May, 2008);jsessionid=1AAD6F51B15CD5E8580C84466CE8CCCF

Aaron C

Thats .43 degrees F, not degrees C.


Right, lucia, with around 150 data points, what is the likelihood of that happening.

Pamela Gray

The cloud cover is greater than I can remember for a long time in NE Oregon, where we usually see clear skies. Even Lewiston, Idaho, long known for hot spring days, was cool as a cucumber Saturday. The rain continues to pummel us and storm watch/warnings pop up everywhere. There was even a funnel cloud here. Many long-time folks have never seen one in Wallowa County till last week.
Sure wish we had daily graphs of cosmic rays hitting the earth along with daily graphs of overall cloud cover per hemisphere.

Pamela Gray

addendum: Snow once again to fall in the Wallowa Mountains all next week. The gondola at Wallowa Lake is still closed due to significant snow and weather disturbances at the top. Next week we will be just 9 degrees from freezing here in the valley. That means that for some gardens in low spots, frost will hit tender shoots. Meanwhile pastures are growing grass faster than the cows can eat it.

Pamela Gray

You know what? I am really starting to get pissed off at my tax dollars being spent on research grants that end up with articles I can’t have access to without joining some association group or paying $40 to read more than the abstract. The grant paid for the damned research. What is the extra money going for? I’ve been in research land. The article that came from our research is fully available on the internet free of charge. When we got our grant, the money paid for the entire effort, including publishing, so why do others charge a fee? I find it outrageous that many articles and data sets are hiding behind a veil of fees to see the stuff. All publicly funded articles, along with the data, should be made available to the public tax payer. I want my cloud cover, cosmic ray, and other data delivered!
REPLY: This green wall is made of greenbacks


I can say for one that in Berkeley this is the coldest summer I have every seen in the city, at least since I was 4 when i snowed. I’m hoping for more of that super rare snow this winter:)

Brad Timerson

The satellite is moving through a fairly constant orbital plane with the Earth rotating underneath it. After each orbit, the Earth has rotated slightly bringing the next strip of the planet into view. I’m not sure about NOAA-15, but the early orbital pass with other NOAA polar orbiters was in one direction (descending for example) and the later orbital pass (12 hours later) was in the other direction (ascending). I used to receive the APT satellite images from these spacecraft when I taught meteorology. I received images from NOAA’s 9-12.


The y scale on the graph is in degrees Celcius.
The note at the bottom is incorrect in referencing Fahrenheit.
REPLY: that is what UAH put on as a caption, not my error.

Chance Metz

Hw true and it semes very few get this al lfor free excpet poloticans and people like Al Gore. Everyone else ahs to pay jsut to see these reports.

Brian D

Here in Minnesota.
Jan-May departure from average in degF.(1971-2000 climate normal)
International Falls
2006 +4.0
2007 +0.1
2008 -4.3
2006 +4.7
2007 +0.9
2008 -2.1
2006 +5.3
2007 +2.3
2008 -2.9
Jan 06 had a departure of +15 to +16 degF. It was like spring in the middle of winter, and I loved it.(and the heat bill, too)
A warming climate isn’t all THAT bad. Less harsh winters, and earlier springs. Aahh, the good old days.

Patrick Hadley

Kim asks about the likelihood of every single daily temperature reading so far in 2008 being lower than its equivalent date in 2007.
Strangely enough I have just noticed that every single day this year I weigh considerably more than I did on the same date last year. What are the odds of that?
Is it 1 divided by 2 to power of 152?
Or is it actually very nearly 1, when you take into account all the food I have been eating lately.

Tom in Florida

If you follow American baseball, the Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays have the best records which is a clear indication that not only is Earth cooling but that Hell is freezing over.

The y scale on the graph is in degrees Celcius.
The note at the bottom is incorrect in referencing Fahrenheit.
REPLY: that is what UAH put on as a caption, not my error.

There is no error whatsoever.
Drs. Christy and Braswell created a robust, near real-time, highly dynamic and widely published graph for our convenience. As if that weren’t enough, they also (apparently manually) add a text box to the graph daily to help readers understand what they’re being shown.
And then someone comes along and complains that the (manual) text box is in Fahrenheit while the y-axis is in “degrees Celcius” [sic].
This shallow-thinking reminds me of when I would perform advanced calculations in Excel, but would have to use “precision as displayed” because invariably some yahoo whose only expertise is the ability to add numbers would complain.

Chance Metz

That and that the Yankees are on ice.

Retired Engineer

Tom: The real test will be August/September. If the Cubs survive that, we can count on another ice age. Possibly the end of life on Earth.
As Ernie Banks said, “Any team can have a bad century.”

Mike Bryant

Hmmm, As Lucia pointed out there was no crossover between 07 and 08… There is now.

Mike Bryant

Sorry I was looking at the wrong channel…

R John

The month of May in Peoria, IL was a whopping 8.34 degrees F cooler than a year ago. More carbon dioxide please, I’m freezing here in the Midwest.

Pamela Gray

Right now it is 17 degrees colder than last year. Friday could bring valley wide freezing to several gardens in this remote corner of Oregon. And more snow in the Blue and Wallowa Mountains all week, with some at pass level near Tollgate. This kind of stuff happened in the 50’s. Prior to that, in 1878, my great-grandfather decided to settle in the Wallowa Valley when the Blue’s experienced such a fall through spring blizzard that no one could get to the Willamette Valley along the Oregon Trail all winter long.

[…] will see in a few days where this May ranks. Clearly it will be colder than normal. UAH MSU daily data suggests the global average will be well below last year as well. Stay tuned for official […]


And why are the 2008 temps higher than the ‘record’ temps?
I couldn’t find a reference to the original data. Frankly, I don’t trust it.

[…] I thought it was getting hotter?  Or no? […]

Pamela Gray

It is currently 25 degrees F below the temperature recorded last year at 6:45 PM in Enterprise, Oregon. All those tomato plants are jus’ sittin there. Fortunately I love fried green tomatoes. There will be plenty in the valley come fall because none of them will be able to ripen to the red stage. I also love green tomato salsa, spiced with hot peppers, onion, and garlic. Mix in an avocado (if they will even be available this fall), and you’ve got some good stuff to go along with warmed tortilla chips! Salty marguaritta anyone? Cuz we are gonna need the HEAT, and a drink that cools the lips but warms the innerds!


It might not be too early to learn Spanish. But if I’m wrong, I already know Canadian.


I bet it has nothing to do with the strong La Nina from Feb and April (there is a time lag in the earth’s system) and the fact we are the low of sunspot cycle with no to hardly any for 2 years, the low activity is notable and the overall intensity of the trough is the lowest since 1990.
Also March 2008 by NOAA was the second hottest ever and the hottest over land despite these doubled cooling influences.
Also the globe is the whole globe not a single tomato plant, in May here we where 6C above normal and Asia and parts of the Arctic are severla degrees above normal.
Nino conditions have gone neutral and most likely to be EL Nino later this year or early next year, and the NAO is in a negative phase which will encourage the arctic ice melt and as it is 90% (NSIDC) likely that we have a new arctic sea low this year with all that extra heat absorbed due to albedo conditions, wouldn’t be surprised to see those global temepratures to reveal the actual warming again soon.

[…] years show declining temperatures. It may take a while before Arctic ocean waters respond, but temperatures have actually been falling for a while now. “The Arctic sea ice melt is a disaster for the polar bears,” according to Kassie Siegel, staff […]