UAH: Global Temperature Dives in May

Confirming what many of us have already noted from the anecdotal evidence coming in of a much cooler than normal May, such as late spring snows as far south as Arizona, extended skiing in Colorado, and delays in snow cover melting, (here and here), the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) published their satellite derived Advanced Microwave Sounder Unit data set of the Lower Troposphere for May 2008.

It is significantly colder globally, colder even than the significant drop to -0.046°C seen in January 2008.

The global ∆T from April to May 2008 was -.195°C


2008 1 -0.046

2008 2 0.020

2008 3 0.094

2008 4 0.015

2008 5 -0.180

Compared to the May 2007 value of 0.199°C we find a 12 month ∆T is -.379°C.

But even more impressive is the change since the last big peak in global temperature in January 2007 at 0.594°C, giving a 16 month ∆T of -0.774°C which is equal in magnitude to the generally agreed upon “global warming signal” of the last 100 years.

Click for a larger image

Reference: UAH lower troposphere data

I’m betting that RSS (expected soon) will also be below the zero anomaly line, since it tends to agree well with UAH. HadCRUT will likely show a significant drop, I’m going to make a SWAG and say it will end up around 0.05 to -0.15°C. GISS; I’m not going to try a SWAG, as it could be anything. Of course anomalies can change to positive on the next El Nino, but this one seems to be deepening.

Update 06/05/08: Per MattN’s suggestion, changed link above for snow melt to news stories from previous link to National Snow and Ice Center


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Roger Carr

Cannot find ‘SWAG’ in the glossary, Anthony…
REPLY: SWAG – Scientific Wild Ass Guess


And June isn’t looking much warmer here in my part of California. We might hit “normal” temps for this time of year two days this week, if we are lucky. The long range forecast doesn’t show us going much above “normal” until the 11th.


Oh I know a couple…
It’s an acronym not a word – one meaning is for Stuff We All Get – generally referring to trade show type goodies.
The other is Simple/Scientific/Silly Wild Approximate (or another A word) Guess – which is what I suspect Anthony is referring to.

For all the AWarmists who claim 10 years of no net warming doesn’t prove anything… go to the UAH data at and note the 8th column (12 month running mean).
– 12 months ending May 2008 is +0.116
– 12 months ending January 1988 is +0.121


I knew it (boasting) sorry can’t help myself (see previous rex posts).. but of anyone can follow the trend by looking at the graphs. Looks like June may be scarier… because it would to take a steep up notch to catch up with mean at this stage.

Alex Llewelyn

And the trend 1979-present has finally dropped to 0.13. Yay.

Alex Llewelyn

And its the coldest month in the record since April 1997! And the coldest May since 1992!


At least we are lucky with the weather here in Sweden. For 5 days we have had temperatures around 25-30 degrees. And the forecast tells us that it will continue. We have even had warmer weather here in stockholm than Barcelona in Spain :D. The monhly anormaly since january is like +1,5 C.
LOCAL warming anyone?

[…] speaking of inconvenient truths, it is getting colder. Confirming what many of us have already noted from the anecdotal evidence coming in of a much […]

Allan MR MacRae

Hi Anthony,
Based on UAH LT temperature data from ~1980 to end April 2008 and pre-1980 ST data from Hadcrut3, I recently stated that there was no net global warming since ~1940, in spite of an almost 800% increase in humanmade CO2 emissions.
The May 2008 decline of an additional ~0.2C in the UAH global average LT temperature further reinforces this conclusion.
Furthermore, it is clear that CO2 lags temperature at all measured time scales, from ice core data spanning thousands of years to sub-decadal trends.
This data consistently suggests that the sensitivity of global temperature to increased atmospheric CO2 is near-zero, and there is no human-made catastrophic global warming crisis.
Please see
Best regards, Allan

Jeff B.

Yeah Anthony, no need to SWAG at GISS because Hansen will probably doctor it anyway. All this cooling doesn’t fit the party line.


This is a disaster for the world …. scientific community.

Pierre Gosselin

Must be some new scientific designation or something.
Again I’d like to warn against anecdotal data:
1. Here in Central Europe and Scandinavia it’s been really warm.
2. The same can be said for big swaths of Siberia.
Are the UAH results alarming? Looks to me like global temps have been pretty much flat over the last 30 years.

Pierre Gosselin

Politically I’m already speculating for the next 2 years. The UAH results will certainly spook Gore and the AGW activists. They’ve run out of time, and know they’ll have to move super fast to install their new regime.
1. Obama will win by a land slide in November.
2. The Democrats will also gain seat in both houses.
3. Gore will get a key energy and environmental post in Obama’s Admin.
4. Obama will sign Kyoto immediately after innauguration
5. He will do the same for carbon cap and trade.
6. An El Nino will pop up next year.
7. Temps will rebound.
8. UAH, RSS will be defunded
9. FoxNews will pull a Scott McClellan
10. GISS and HadCrut will release alarming warming data in 2009 and 2010.
11. But by the next election period in 2010, global temps will have in reality plummeted another 0.5°C, inflation will be near double digit, and unemployment will be rising rapidly.

Greg Smith

Go to and compare the ice cover in the Arctic for todays date with a hot year such as 1998 and you’ll see little difference!


Stuff We All Get
Also interpreted as Soft Ware and Gifts–still tradeshow usage
Although I always insisted on Stuff We All Get in arguments.

Robert Wood

Apparently it’s going to be hot here in Ottawa on Saturday. That’ll get the AGW ccrowd hortling. Otherwise, incredible 100% continual cloud cover and rain.


Coldest May since 1992. 4th coldest on record since measurements began in 1979.
Just sayin’….

I find it neat to see a multi-year sawtooth trend in the mid-1980’s that lasted until the ’98 el Nino.

Bruce Cobb

And yet the AGWarmiots will soldier on bravely, with a trembly voice, saying “the warming is currently on hiatus, having gone into hiding deep in the oceans”. The warming trend is still there, they will say (and are saying), just is being masked by a short-term natural (gasp!) variation. Then, they will point to any and all “extreme” weather, and say, “see, this is unprecedented, and is the result of the hidden man-made GW.” And, they’ll add, “when the warming does resume, it will do so with a vengeance so we need to stop all this C02 pollution now, before it’s too late.” AGW religion is resilient, if nothing else.

Bob B

Anthony, I would guess that Electrical engineers use the term swag probably more then any other profession. We will admit flat out that we really don’t know–unlike Climate scientists I think.—IMHO

[…] Global temperature is clearly moving down as sea level, stratospheric temperatures and other long term integrators of global temperatures suggest. I will have more to say about the Rahmstorf (Science Brevia, 4 May 2007, p709 [1]) view that the climate “may be responding more quickly to climate change than our current generation of models indicates”, and its use as the sole source for the Interim Report of the Garnaut Review to advocate prompt and extreme action on carbon emissions (Section 2.4 Consequences of Climate Change, Observed Climate Change). Meanwhile, “Houston, we seem to have another problem.” Hat tip to Anthony Watts […]


The tropics are the “coldest since records began”.
Wouldn’t that be considered unprecedented? 🙂


I’m making a SWAG that the GISS from Dr Hansen will show record warming.

The UAH anomoly for the tropics have been decreasing since Nov 2007:
-0.052, -0.179, -0.212, -0.325, -0.489, -0.532, -0.579
And it has been negative since Oct 2007.
John M Reynolds

Jeff in Canada

Well there is an inconvienient truth!
Looking at that graph, I am sure glad that I don’t have to plot a trend line. I realy don’t think there is any long term trend. There seems to be a short term, or begining of a long term downward trend at the end.


That should be the coldest for May on record in the tropics. May 2008 is the 5th coolest overall on record.

Does this mean that Al Gore’s “Earth Fever” has finally broke?

[…] near as much as we think we know about global warming. The latest satellite data shows that the average global temperature during May was 0.180 C below the average from 1979 to 2008 (the satellite they use was put in orbit in late 1978). Global average […]

Pamela Gray

The lower middle of Oregon and the adjacent upper middle slice of California has a frost advisory out for Thursday with temps dropping into the low 30’s. A large area of low ground could experience crop kill. brrrrrr!

As the World Cools, the US Congress cuts off all attempts for the US to produce its own energy from shale oil, offshore oil, arctic oil, tar sands, coal, nuclear, hydro, offshore wind, and anything else the current Congress sees as an “environmental” or “greenhouse” threat. Now Congress is voting on whether to send the US economy back to the stone age to suit Gore, Soros, and a few other Davos Divas.
There are words for this US Congress that one must not say, and there are deeds and consequences appropriate to repay them for what they are doing and have done, which must not be discussed. There will nevertheless be an accounting of some type, at some time. We at Oynklent Green [OTC:OYNK] are maintaining our books with all fastidiousness.


Coldest month since January 2000.
REPLY: By my recoking it looks like January 1999 -Anthony

Don B

Last night Possible President Obama said that he would stop the seas from rising. Oratory need colorful images, but that seemed a little over-the-top.
One might surmise he knows about solar physics, has read papers such as Landscheidt’s ( ) and believes solar cycles 24 and 25 will be calm, leading to buildup of ice, lowering sea levels. Just joking.


Colleagues in Minnesota have told me the ice on the lakes was 4 feet thick last winter. This was unusually thick – they needed extensions on their ice augers to go ice fishing.


The tropical cooling is interesting. The Earth’s climate is essentially a system for transporting heat from the tropics towards the poles where it is radiated out to space. Tropics temperatures have been on a straight line down for a year now and that means less heat available to transport to higher latitudes. I’d say there is significant (global) cooling in the pipeline from the tropical cooling to date. My SWAG is -0.3 to -0.5 more global cooling by the end of the year and that assumes no further tropical cooling.


The high tomorrow in Denver is forecast to be 54 F. This will blow away the record high minimum of 65 F for the date. In fact the latest seasonal date with a record high minimum of 54 for Denver in NOAA’s records dating back to the 1800’s is May 10, almost a month ago.
NOAA May Records:
NOAA June Records:


My guesses:
RSS: -.15
HAD: 0
GISS: .4 to .6, with a claim it was one of the warmest Mays ever recorded.

Jerker Andersson

The May result was expected if you have followed the daily UAH temperatures at different altitudes at UAH’s website.
June seems to start even colder than May. If there aren’t a strong recovery like last year, June might end up even colder than May.
Btw, haven’t La Nina faded away mostly now and should just have a minor effect on temperatures?
As it have been said before on this blog: The next 2-3 years will be very interesting for climatologists and solar scientists.


re warm in sweden: this is the real picture:

Stan Needham

This is certainly reflected by May temps in the Midwest. I play in a Monday morning senior golf league that began on April 28th with a 7:30 AM temperature of 35 degrees. The following Monday, May 5th it was 43 with a 25-30 mph wind out of the Northwest. On May 12th it was also in the low 40’s, and the following Monday back in the high 30’s again. By my calculation, the average Monday morning temperature from April 28th until June 2nd was 47. Even on May 26th, when it was 66 at tee time, it had dropped to the mid 50’s by the time we finished.


re warm in sweden: this is the real picture:

Mann et al Correction to SST


Carlsen wrote: LOCAL warming anyone?
Yes yes YES. Here in Texas we are having late July/August temps – it was 111 in Wink, TX yesterday. Here in San Antonio it was 98-99 yesterday. This is way above normal for this time of year, and after a cool spring no-one is ready for this heat. It’s definitely straining the electrical grid.


That’s a very scary list of prognostications. Scariest of all is that you might be right. I’m torn between whether Obama will turn out to be another McGovern or another Carter. Your scenario is more the latter, and we all know how that turned out. I think, though, that Obama turning out to be another McGovern is within the realm of possibility. McGovern was soundly defeated by an unpopular incumbent. In a sense, McCain is inheriting the mantle of an unpopular administration, but might actually prove a little more “popular” than Nixon was at the time he defeated McGovern.
Still, the analogy to ~1978 — rising energy prices, cold weather, sluggish economy — will only get worse if Obama is elected. Then we’ll have a President who will be weak on foreign affairs, in charge of a tax and spend Congress who will see “climate change” like the “energy crisis” of the late 1970’s as a “mandate” for governmental action that will only make things worse. I hope it doesn’t happen.

Is anyone continuing Landscheidt’s work on center of mass effects on the sun? I’m tempted to start the usual rumor that the Warmers took him out to stop the research since the debate is over. I’m SWAGing a news report saying that the cooling is because the high cost of fuel is making people drive and fly less.
still no sunspots today


I am 56 years old, lived through the great freeze in the UK in 62/63, moved to the Southern Hemisphere in 1975 and have experienced climate shifts ever since. There is nothing unusual with the weather now (even as I experience La Nina rain and cold battering the window). What is alarming, but almost predictable over about a 30-40 year cycle, is the drift to totalitarianism and anti-scientific rationalism (Prussian militarism, Nazism/Communism, Cutural Revolution). This time it’s driven by the huge, unaccountable bureaucracies of the UN and EU, captured by socialist/green extremism, and driving a mindless media. We have an enormous socio/political problem on our hands. How can we tackle this?


And what’s your point? Continue polluting, business-as-usual? We need to move away from oil and coal, period. It harms the environment, causes particulate pollution, completely ruins ecosystems, causes smog, etc.
REPLY: The point is that CO2 doesn’t appear to be in control of the climate system as has been claimed. Natural variance is still king, CO2 is not overriding it as some have claimed.
If you’ll read my “about” page (link at top menu) you’ll see I’m very much for conservation, alternate energy, and removing noxious pollutants from our processes.
But, the panic over CO2 seems to be overblown, and the linkage is weak. There’s more rhetoric and claims than linkage that holds over time. Solar, nuclear, fules cells, electric cars (I drive one) are all better bets anyway. let’s embrace them, make them work, and stop worrying ourselves to death or trying to legislate change. Government doesn’t solve problems, market forces and inspired people do.

BobW in NC

I mention data such as those published by UAH to our AGW folks in central NC (we have them by the carload), and they just snort.
Although the first part of June is reported to be typically warm here in the Piedmont of North Carolina, note that this week, we’re running near record high temperatures (high 90s). Go figure regional differences…
Thanks, Anthony, for a great blog!

Quote: “- 12 months ending May 2008 is +0.116
– 12 months ending January 1988 is +0.121
Except of course that you can’t compare different places in the solar cycle. May 2008, which is at the bottom of the solar cycle can be compared to May 1996 (+0.065), May 1986 (-0.153). So, during the last two solar cycles the 12 month average temperature has risen 0.269 centigrades. No net warming? Yeah, right.
Next cycle (24) will probably be strong, so in around 5-6 years we will see global temperature records broken again.
Good news is that cycle 25, that peaks 2022 will be weak, so global warming will be felt less then, presumably. And with some serious efforts we could lessen greenhouse production before cycle 26, which starts sometime around 2030.

Jim Arndt

Anthony, the thing I find most interesting is that even during the January when the Earth is closest to the sun (90w/m2) we still had a dramatic decrease in temperature. This being said I am close to post a barycentric comparison to solar. wait for some software at the moment.