GISS Global Temperature Dips in August

GISS (Goddard Institute of Space Studies) Surface Temperature Analysis (GISSTemp) released their monthly global temperature anomaly data for August 2008. Following is the monthly global ∆T from January to August 2008

Year J  F  M  A  M  J  J  A

2007 85 61 59 64 55 53 53 56

2008 14 25 60 42 40 28 50 39

Here is a plot of the GISSTemp monthly anomaly since January 1979 (keeping in line with the time period displayed for UAH). I have added a simple 12-month moving average displayed in red.

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September 10, 2008 8:54 am

Clearly no warming since 2002, even with “adjusted” data.

September 10, 2008 9:10 am

May has been adjusted to 0.39.

September 10, 2008 9:16 am

Plus, with 250 km smoothing radius, anomaly is 0.35.

September 10, 2008 9:19 am

When you post these graphs could you add a note about what ∆T is exactly? In this case it looks like difference from the baseline year 1979 in degrees C (or hundredths of a degree) but ∆T could also be (depending on the source and presentation method) difference from last month or difference from the same month last year.
[Reply by JG: Good point. In this case, ∆T is the anomaly, which for GISS is the difference between the actual monthly temperature and the average temperature for that same month for the 30-year period 1951 to 1980.]

September 10, 2008 9:21 am

I am not as familiar with the GISS “adjustment” procedure as others are but from what I have been able to glean over at Climate Audit, these drops in temperature now are likely to cause past temperatures to change somewhat because of the way missing values are filled in and how UHI is “adjusted” in to the records. Well, the temperature if the past isn’t really going to change but the “adjustments” and extrapolations and estimations of past temperatures are going to change. I have a suspicion that De. Hansen’s methods have some assumptions about temperatures always rising with the passage of time and it will be interesting to see how his “adjustment” methods cope with declining temperatures.

September 10, 2008 9:32 am

Isn’t there some further adjustment Hansen could make to fix this obvious mistake?
There’s lots of room in the urban heat island adjustments to play with temps further.

Robert Wood
September 10, 2008 9:44 am

Hmmmm, what’s the vertical scale?
[Reply by JG: 100ths of a degree C. Thus “80” means 0.8C.]

September 10, 2008 9:44 am

A new La Nina is on the way too. I guess that’ll be the excuse for 2009 temperatures continuing to plunge.
When all the warmth gets eliminated from the eastern pacific this winter with the upcoming La Nina and replaced with colder sea surface temperatures that’ll drag the average down even further.

September 10, 2008 10:09 am

Using 250 smoothing radius you get:
Jan08: 0.17
Feb08: 0.29
Mar08: 0.55
Apr08: 0.33
May08: 0.31
Jun08: 0.31
Jul08: 0.40
Aug08: 0.35
Looks like 250km is more often down than up relative to 1200km. Anybody know if that is indictive of past years as well?

September 10, 2008 10:14 am

What’s also interesting is the warmest anomalies over Antarctica were included in the analysis, but the cold anomalies over Antarctica are mysteriously left out.

Bill Marsh
September 10, 2008 10:14 am

Still love this ‘reality vs model’ for Dr Hansen. Has he ever addressed the growing disparity between his Scenario A (unabated CO2 increase) prediction and observed temperatures, which is now outside of a 95% confidence interval?

Richard deSousa
September 10, 2008 10:21 am

Off topic: The latest from ICE… a jury in Great Britain gave ordinary citizens permission to vandalize coal powered electricity producing plants to protect the environment. James Hansen testified during the trial. Just wait until GB freezes in the coming winters and see how miserable the citizens are. Total insanity.

Steve Berry
September 10, 2008 11:21 am

Richard. You have to understand that here in the UK we’re fed a daily diet of global warming from the BBC and the independent news channel, ITN (ITN is a bit like National Enquirer). Our newspapers are also doing very well out of it too. Hence any jury is made up of people very used to hearing about the dangerous gases like carbon dioxide (often referred to simply as carbon!) and how the “planet” is going to die. Anyone attempting to emit noxious gases will probably be hung, drawn and quartered here in the future (look up that phrase to see how civilised we used to be here in England!).
Minor point, but ‘Great Britain’ refers to only part of the UK, so technically it should be a ‘UK jury’ or even ‘British jury’. Sorry, I’m a pedant.

September 10, 2008 12:10 pm

Kate: You have a good eye. The South Pole (Amundsen-Scot Station) data is missing. That usually fills in the rest on the Antarctic. Check out the Zonal Means plot at the bottom of the link, though. It appears they do give the cool area in the Antarctic some weighting.
When and if they fill in the data, the monthly anomaly for August is sure to change.

Jim Arndt
September 10, 2008 12:22 pm

Hi Anthony,
OT but it is about Pastor Hansen and his parishioners.
REPLY: I’ve been aware of this for awhile. I’m thinking about how best to present this story. – Anthony

Steve Berry
September 10, 2008 12:29 pm

Bob. From the site “Grahics bug (sic): Occasionally the color for the .5-1C range is replaced by gray”.

September 10, 2008 12:51 pm

2007 was the hottest year on record? Is that what that GISS graph is saying?
How’d this happen, by Hansematic adjusting or is it right that ’07 was the hottest year?

Steve Berry
September 10, 2008 1:07 pm

Re; the coal-power ‘campaigners’. It’s been really funny watching what’s been happening in the past few years here in the UK. The Greens hate nuclear power, but by walking into the climate debacle with their eyes shut, they’re going to force it in by the back door! It’s most amusing. We have to generate our electricity somehow of course, and nuclear is emission-free(!). But by these pathetic campaigns the Greens will shoot themselves in both feet. Hilarious!

September 10, 2008 1:28 pm
the opposite temperature anaomalies at both poles is interesting.
Is there a transfer of energy form south to north related to the ocean oscillations and may the anomalies reverse with the reversal of the oscillations ?
(if this happens, we will hear a lot of news about the antarctis, I think)

Dave H, NZ
September 10, 2008 1:40 pm

Apologies for being slightly off topic, but can someone point me to where I can find the different methods used for calculating ‘anomalies’? I got GISS identified above thank you… for GISS it’s, month vs that month average from 1951 to 1980.

Bill Marsh
September 10, 2008 1:42 pm

Well, it is winter in the Antarctic, summer in the Arctic.
Where is that pesky tropic tropospheric warming tho?

September 10, 2008 2:43 pm

Check out i.e. MSU daily temperature trends at 25,000 feet, and add ticks to the boxes for 1999 and 2000 (Back-to-back La Nina). Then repeat for all available higher altitudes.
This is the true cooling. As long as temperatures at higher altitudes continue to be even cooler than in 99/00 the globe overall will arguably be losing more heat than then. Especially if surface temperatures (e.g. shown by GISS, or MSU at lowest altitude) continue to be show higher anomalies than the satellite temperatures at altitude, since heat loss by convection especially will be even faster.
Why the cooling at altitude? Most probably PDO shift coinciding with reduction in solar activity. PDO shift to cool phase means warm anomalies in Pacific shifted away from tropics This cools the upper atmosphere overall since it is warm anomalies in tropics that have the greatest positive effect on temperatures at altitude – add tick to box for 1998 at 25,000 feet.
Reduction in solar activity means cooling of Stratosphere (via UV reduction) propagating downwards, and possibly more cloudiness via cosmic ray increase.
Things just ain’t what they seem. The Arctic warmth of the last two summer could represent a particularly efficient form of global cooling rather than warming – not just in terms of warmth being siphoned off via the polar atmosphere, but also in terms of vast expanses of open water being left in the autumn to radiate away yet more heat from elsewhere to space.
La Nina could in fact have slowed down global heat loss over the winter, while the warmer surface temperatures over the summer have increased it again. The next La Nina may bring even colder global temperatures, while the next El Nino may represent a further loss of heat from the oceans.
The below-average sea ice in Antarctica in the last month or so despite very cold anomalies may mean that warm currents siphoned towards it have prevented net ice formation……. except that the water carried by the warm currents will no longer be nearly as warm! Hence below-average sea ice can represent a net cooling.
In other words, the more you look into this stuff, the more things get turned on their head……..

September 10, 2008 2:51 pm

What’s with the spike that pops up every 2-3 years? What’s that in sync with?

Pamela Gray
September 10, 2008 2:56 pm

In Enterprise, Oregon, it continues to be cooler than last year. It is 2:52 PM and it is 10 degrees colder than this time last year. It is also colder than last month but that is to be expected. Looking ahead, I believe September will also come in with a dropping trend globally.

September 10, 2008 3:22 pm

Large areas of the northern US Rockies are having their coldest beginning of September on record.
Montana’s cold September
Period of record 1934-2008
Period of record 1934-2008
Any guess how to how the GISS analysis will adjust for this?

Pamela Gray
September 10, 2008 4:08 pm

I don’t know if this September 5th record cold event is just for this station, or for all stations that report in to NCDC. It is probably for just the Pacific Northwest reporting area. Anyway, Meacham, Oregon (which is about 60 plus miles from Enterprise, Oregon), reported a record cold daily minimum event September 5th:
“These data are preliminary and have not undergone final quality control by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). Therefore, these data are subject to revision. Final and certified climate data can be accessed at the NCDC –
Record Event Report
SXUS76 KPDT 051813
1115 AM PDT FRI SEP 5 2008
MEACHAM, OR 29 / 2005 28 1948 :SINCE MID”

Pamela Gray
September 10, 2008 4:12 pm

To read that last line in the report:
Station name comma, State name space, previous record low, slash, previous record year space, new record low space, year data recording began space, colon since mid year.

Gary Gulrud
September 10, 2008 4:34 pm

Minnesota has been rainy and cool since the last weeks of August. We expect a few such days at this time but we now hope for one last day above 80 next week–the first in a month.

September 10, 2008 4:37 pm

Steve Berry: Thanks for the heads up. However, the zonal mean plot indicates there’s no data south of 80S.

September 10, 2008 4:57 pm

Manfred: I’ve never heard of any kind of polar transfer. It doesn’t mean there isn’t one; I’ve just never heard of one. Maybe what you’re seeing are the results of something else. In addition to seasonal differences, Antarctica is surrounded by the Southern Ocean, which dampens any changes there, where the Arctic is surrounded by North American and Eurasian land masses, which amplifies changes. This would create different response times, too.
Another difference, SSTs have been dropping in the Southern Ocean since the mid-80s, but the Arctic Ocean may or may not have started a decline a few years ago. It’s tough to tell with the Arctic right now.
Southern Ocean SSTs since 1978:
Arctic Ocean SSTs since 1978:
Hope that helps.

September 10, 2008 5:24 pm

Up here in Summit County, Colo. we didn’t have much of a summer. We had several large snowstorms in May and winter lingered until mid-June. It rained persistently all summer with almost daily thunderstorms. We had a dusting of snow on the highest peaks in July, and I woke up to snowfall at 11,000′ on 17 Aug. Today, 10 Sept., I hiked in fresh snow on Mt. Democrat/Lincoln/Bross. Above 14,000′ it was frigid! We’re already well into Autumn. Fall colors on the Aspens should peak in 2 weeks or sooner. I noticed Geese flying South last week and the week before but haven’t seen any since. I guess they’ve all fled the cold that’s steadily advancing from the North.

September 10, 2008 6:07 pm

Neilo: I believe the spikes you’re referring to are the global temperature reactions to El Nino and La Nina events. What are they in synch with? That’s the big question. Lots of theories. Some think it’s variations in TSI, though the relationship I’ve seen in scientific papers is abstract. There’s a strange coincidence in which large El Nino events happen 5 to 10 years (I can’t recall the exact timing) after explosive volcanic eruptions, though I’ve only seen this coincidence discussed on blogs, not in any scientific papers. I recently ran across a paper that loosely correlated El Nino events with seismic and volcanic activity on the sea floor in the East Equatorial Pacific and with a few other factors that escape me now. Lots of theories on what drives El Ninos and La Ninas. No clear answers.
Whether El Ninos or La Ninas are dominant for a period of time also dictates the distribution of warm and cool SST anomalies in the North Pacific, culminating in an effect attributed most often to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. But since the PDO is considered an aftereffect of ENSO, it’s ultimately ENSO that dictates the distribution of heat. Sorry, if I’m getting carried away with details you may not be interested in. So I’ll bring this to an end.
What is for certain: during periods when the number and magnitude of El Nino events are higher than those of La Ninas, global temperatures rise. Not just the spikes, I’m referring to trends. The same thing holds true for the number and magnitude of La Ninas; except when they exceed the net effect of El Ninos, global temperatures decline. Climatologists like to reverse the cause and effect over long periods, saying that during periods of increasing global temperatures, El Ninos are more frequent, and vice versa during periods of decreasing global temperatures. But there is a significant difference between the two ways of presenting it, isn’t there?

old construction worker
September 10, 2008 6:23 pm

Kate (15:22:36)
‘Any guess how to how the GISS analysis will adjust for this?’
Yep. They will autoconnect it to Yuma, AZ.

September 10, 2008 6:51 pm

SOI is going positive again:
Another La Nina building?

Jack Simmons
September 10, 2008 7:04 pm

Josh (17:24:18) :
When I glanced west today from the front range, it was not just my imagination in thinking those banks of clouds were as cold as they looked?
Has the Denver Water Board kept the Dam Road open as promised?
Back in the sixties, before I-70 was built, part of sentimental journey to California included a ride across Dillon Dam on the old Highway 6. When the road was reopened last summer, I made it a point to cross it for memory’s sake.

September 10, 2008 8:05 pm

Those banks of clouds were definitely as cold as they looked. It was very winter-like on those peaks today.
The Dam Road is still open. I always prefer taking that route to I-70.

September 10, 2008 9:58 pm

[…] the falling global temperatures in Watts Up With That? 07 September, […]

September 11, 2008 4:01 am

Manfred – the polar opposites – have you studied Svensmark’s The Chilling Stars?
His position is this: Current low solar magnetic flux allows the cosmic rays to come in that had been kept out 1970-2000 or so, this causes more cloud formation. Cloud albedo is the significant factor: brighter than land and oceans, it reflects solar energy out to space and causes temperature to fall over most of the planet. But it is less bright than icecaps, so Antarctica, the Greenland ice sheet, and to a lesser extent the polar sea ice would behave in the opposite way to the rest of the planet, both in cooling and in warming periods overall.
Also beware the effects of underwater vulcanism, now showing up on the satellite SST pictures.

September 11, 2008 5:34 am

DaveH: Explanation of anomaly values, list of baseline periods and differences between them at:

Steven Hill
September 11, 2008 8:18 am

Does anyway have the real data?

September 11, 2008 10:19 am

It is colder in 2008, that is obvious.
However this graph doesn’t disprove AGW – if we were in 1993 or in 2000 it would just look the same it looks like now…but after those 1-2 year minima…global warming continued 🙁

Jeff Alberts
September 11, 2008 10:42 am

Not up to us to disprove AGW. It’s up to AGW proponents to prove it’s happening. Just because it may be getting warmer isn’t proof. All indications are that we’re returning to pre-LIA temps. They need to prove that the surface stations aren’t plagued with biases, that anyone can accurately predict weather or climate beyond 3 days, and that the whole thing isn’t driven by emotion rather than science.

September 11, 2008 2:51 pm

Does anyway have the real data?
Go with the Satellite data. UAH and RSS. That’s your best bet.
It’s lower troposphere rather than surface data, and there remain some small adjustment questions, but at least they are evenly gridded and weighted, and are not subject to the godawful surface station issues.
CRN surface data for the US may turn out to be okay, but we have to wait until the network is activated. We’ll see.

Dave H, NZ
September 11, 2008 4:30 pm

Thank you Paul Clark. Exactly what I was looking for.

John D.
September 11, 2008 11:00 pm

There is a line that can be drawn..without statsistical analysis…just eyeballing, that is lower, earlier to the left (ca. 1979), and higher, later to the right (ca. 2008.5); No?
John D.

Luis Dias
September 12, 2008 9:33 am

John, my thoughts exactly.

September 12, 2008 1:37 pm

Hello Jeff Alberts,
It is true AGW isn’t proven.
However, they are not always bad at predicting climate…
see for example Landscheidt:
Is there a good summary of the predictors, that say
we are returning to pre-LIA temps ?
It is also true surface stations are biased for example
by urban head island effects etc.
But I compared several climate stations in Europe,
where I live and the differences between urban and
non-urban stations are only moderate.
Hohenpeissenberg, a station on a small mountain
in south Germany for instance it’s far from cities
up to today, and non-biased
(as far as I could examine the surroundings of the station)
and they record temperatures there since 1781 ! So for
quite some time.
I plotted the exponential moving average of a monthly updated
annual average temperature…and at least in Europe:
it really heats up since 1987.
I hope your predictors are right and it cools soon..I would be happy.
[REPLY – Fixed according to your instructions ~ Evan]

Pamela Gray
September 12, 2008 3:20 pm

Went fishing this morning. The water temp is extremely cold! Much colder than last month. The mountain source temps must really be dropping to produce this degree change! Haven’t seen water this cold in September for quite some time. Years even. However, I did catch my trout limit this morning so I am heading out again this afternoon after putting up a cord of wood. It is a beautiful clear autumn day and I intend to enjoy it. Why anyone would want to live in another state is beyond me. Oregon is just about perfect. However, fanny is still freezing, especially after this morning’s trek across the river to one of my favorite fishing holes. The water wasn’t too deep but it was swift enough to splash up and hit the ol’ behind! Well worth the cold however. There were two very nice size fish waiting for me.

Pamela Gray
September 13, 2008 3:45 pm

Thin ozone continues over the northwest part of the US:
It would seem that ozone is definitely not well mixed in the upper atmosphere. Sure can’t wait for that website related to CO2. Any word on when that will be ready for the public?

September 21, 2008 2:08 pm

Just to say, the August in the UK was the coldest I could recall in my 42 years. We even had the heating on in the summer, that has never happened before.
There were only a couple of days that were nice, not one scorcher, and we always tend to get some nice days in summer. Not this year.
But then I go to the UK Met office website, and they tell me that this August was warmer than average.
Seeing this has kind of made me lose all faith in data being recorded everywhere.

I wish the ice age woudl arrive already
February 3, 2009 10:35 pm

Where can you find the actual average temps used for the different baselines ?
i.e. I know the year ranges. What about the actual values ?
Just have a question. I hope it’s not too ignorant, trying to get my mind around ththe different temp data.
I was reading above about cooling in the troposphere data compared with surface data. If the surface data is getting warmer then wouldn’t the troposphere be cooling faster ? i.e. a hotter cup of water will cool faster than a not so hot cup of water.
Wouldn’t that cause a divergence in temperatures readings between a higher altidtude and the surface ?
Is the UAH data supposed to calculate supposed temperatures at the surface ? Or is it more concerned with the trend and changes in anomalies ?
If the lower tropo data is supposed to reflect surface temps and people seem critical of surface temps because they are higher. Why is the mid tropo data not the same as the lower tropo once the anaomalies have been calculated ?
For a naive novice, the first assumption was that obviously surface temperatures are higher, they are lower, it’s much colder as you get higher. The fact that the mid tropo graph was lower still than the lower tropo seemed to support this. So what are the actual facts ? [thanks :)]

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