GISS Releases (Suspect) October 2008 Data

by John Goetz

Update: Thanks to an email from John S. – a patron of – we have learned that the Russian data in NOAA’s GHCN v2.mean dataset is corrupted. For most (if not all) stations in Russia, the September data has been replicated as October data, artificially raising the October temperature many degrees. The data from NOAA is used by GISS to calculate the global temperature. Thus the record-setting anomaly for October 2008 is invalid and we await the highly-publicised corrections from NOAA and GISS.

Update 2: The faulty results have been (mostly) backed out of the GISS website. The rest should be done following the federal holiday. GISS says they will update the analysis once they confirm with NOAA that the software problems have been corrected. I also removed the subtitles since the GISS data no longer reflects October as being the warmest ever.

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

Year J  F  M  A  M  J  J  A  S  O

2007 85 61 59 64 55 53 53 56 50 54

2008 14 25 62 36 40 32 52 39 50 78

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.


The addition of October has changed some of the temperatures for earlier months:

GISS 2008   J  F  M  A  M  J  J  A  S  O

As of 9/08  14 25 62 36 40 29 53 50 49 ..

As of 10/08 14 25 62 36 40 32 52 39 50 78

The 0.78 C anomaly in October is the largest ever for October, and one of the largest anomalies ever recorded. Although North America was cooler than normal, Asia apparently suffered from a massive heat wave.

Also, after several months of being downgraded to a 0.61 C anomaly, 2005 has been lifted back to 0.62 C.

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The anomoly for August ’08 was initially released as 0.39, adjusted to 0.50 last month, and re-adjusted to 0.39 this month. Laughable.
Secondly, the UK Met Office says: “Maximum, minimum and mean daily temperatures were all below average across the UK. Most areas, provisionally had their coldest October since 2003, but Northern Ireland had its coldest since 1993 with mean temperatures around 1 deg C below average.” But GISTemp has the UK warmer than normal. GISTemp can’t be trusted.


I”m not so sure we should take this information at face value.With so many faulty temperaues sites here in the U.S. ,how not to measure temperatures,that Anthony has showed on this site watts up with that I feel sure there is a lot of bias .And as far as Asia is concerned this is the first i’ve heard of this masive heat wave.How do we know there isn’t the same bias there to .

Can you over lay the GISS plot with the Satellite plot, to show the difference?


Are the GISS methods peer reviewed and reproducable by independent scientists?

Excerpt from a global weather news blog posted Nov. 1st: “Eastward, however, over southern central and northern Europe (Scandinavia), the cool gave way to above-normal temperature. Eastward from Poland, Hungary and Romania into western Russia, mean monthly temperature 1.5-3.0 degrees C was widespread. And, still farther east, things really got warm. The greater part of the vast Russian Federation land mass together with northeast China and much of central Asia (Kakazhstan) had mean monthly temperature 3 to 5 degrees C above normal. Departures above normal of 1.5 to 3.0 degrees C above normal were widespread over China as a whole as well as Japan, Korea and a significant fraction of the Subcontinent. Indochina was also warmer than usual.”

Harold Ambler

Moscow’s temperature was frequently warmer than London’s during October, I happened to see, and that is super unusual. Also, most other temperatures I looked at across Russia were very warm throughout the month. Nonetheless, the GISS value seems incongruously high compared to UAH.
The GLOBAL sea ice anomaly at zero as of today, and one would not anticipate such a situation to follow on the heels of the warmest October ever.

Unprecedented! This may be the tipping point we have been waiting for. Can we now march forward and seize the helm of the Earth ship, and steer a clear course to green freedom? Yes we can!


Wow…has there ever been a greater discrepency between the satellite and GISS records than now? I doubt it.
The NOAA says the U.S. just had their 44th coolest October (out of 114 years), much of Europe was cool, ice extent grew at a record pace and snowcover exploded in Asia…and yet somehow we just had the warmest October globally ever?

Bill Illis

One needs to see the GISS anomaly map to believe it.
All of Russia and the Arctic above Russia was +4.0C (and more maybe 13.7C?) above normal. (Obviously the ice was not refreezing as the satellites showed.)

Richard deSousa

Laughable… GISS is Hansen’s sand box… no one else is allowed to play there unless they are part of the “team.”

Bill Marsh

That’s outrageous. GISS is rapidly approaching the edge of lucidity. People looking out the window will be able to see that it is unrealistic.

james griffin

It si about time Hansen explained himself, this is bizarre.

Michael Hauber

Well I’ve had a look at GISS maps, and most of the hot red is around east Asia and also far northern Europe. I used 250 km smoothing and one thing that stands out like a sore thumb to me is the coverage of Australia. Only one red spot, which correponds to one of the most remote corners of our coastline.
Heatwave in Asia? Well being autumn, would it need to be a heatwave? Or just an extended mild autumn and late winter? Being a keen ENSO watcher I’ve noticed a fringe of warm water around North East Asian (Pacific side) which would be consistent with unusually warm conditions on land in that area.
Why is Giss so different to satellite? Perhaps poor coverage in areas like Australia that may have been closer to average, and high coverage in areas like Asia where there has been a lot of heat?
The difference between GISS and Uah probably has an explanation if someone looks hard enough, and this explanation may tell an interesting story….

The engineer

How is that possible. Extreme cold weather in Arctic, North America, Europe and Bhutan. The southern hemisphere must have been 1,5 degrees celcius warmer than normal just to break even.
Isn’t anyone going to come up with a viable alternative to Hansens Folly ?


The addition of October has changed some of the temperatures for earlier months
How’s that possible? Why do temps need to be changed even months afterwards, aren’t they measured and automatically recorded in real-time?
May be Oct will be corrected as well, in Jan next year?

Ed Scott

China joins Algore and the UN/IPCC in the global scam with the caveat: The cost is for thee, not for me.
China tells rich polluting nations to change lifestyle
“Chinese officials have said wealthy nations should divert as much as 1 percent of their economic worth to paying for clean technology transfers and helping the Third World overcome damage from the rising temperatures bringing more heatwaves and droughts, more powerful storms and rising sea levels.”

John Finn

There might be one or two issues with the GISS figure (e.g UK as mentioned by Fred in first post) but it would seem to be broadly correct. There were a number of very warm areas around the globe in October. As i’ve already mentioned on the UAH thread, AMSU temperatures support the warm surface record. October AMSU temps at 900mb (3300 ft) are also at record high levels.

Chuck L

You can count on the media picking up on the GISS figures and completely ignoring/disregarding UAH, RSS, and even the Hadley figures (when they are released).


I think he must be using the Magic 8 Ball method of climate prediction-
Has the temperature gone up?
● As I see it, yes
● Ask again later
● Better not tell you now
● Cannot predict now
● Concentrate and ask again
● Don’t count on it
● It is certain
● It is decidedly so
● Most likely
● My reply is no
● My sources say no
● Outlook good
● Outlook not so good
● Reply hazy, try again
● Signs point to yes
● Very doubtful
● Without a doubt
● Yes
● Yes – definitely
● You may rely on it
Twice as many positive answers than negative.


The NSIDC just put out a press release claiming that the latent heat of fusion from the freezing of the arctic ocean is keeping arctic air temperatures above normal… while there may be truth to that claim, they neglect to point out that the heat capacity of the atmosphere is dwarfed by the heat capacity of the ocean, and they neglect to mention that the atmosphere can give up its heat to space rather quickly, especially when the sun is constantly below the horizon.
In a way, they are admitting that the additional heat that may be gained by the arctic ocean when the sea ice shrinks and more sunlight is absorbed is offset by the rapid cooling of the sea when there is no ice layer present to insulate it when the sun goes down.
This is pretty much basic thermodynamics at play here. If the sea ice goes down below normal, the regrowth rate will be much higher because there is no ice layer to act as a blanket to keep the arctic ocean from losing its stored energy…
There is a lot of spin doctoring in the NSIDC press release if you ask me…


I agree with Fred that the Oct 08 GISS anomalies for Britain appear to be plain wrong – i’ve posted about this on Lucia’s blog.
However, there’s no doubt that anomalies really were pretty high over Russia. This is confirmed by the MSU/AMSU TLT anomaly map:
(Click next to “Anomaly” at the top of the screen)
Also, note that UAH has “NoExt Land” (i.e. land masses north of the tropics) for Oct 08 at +0.62C making it the third warmest after 2005 (+0.75C) and 1998 (+0.70C)

John Finn

How is that possible. Extreme cold weather in Arctic,
This is the kind of stuff that needs to be challenged and corrected. The Arctic has not been cold – it has been considerably warmer than average.


This is the Met Office anomaly map for Britain in October 2008:
It’s in relation to the 1961-1990 average (no more than ~0.1C different to the 1951-1980 average, which is the standard GISS baseline)
Note that most of the country has an anomaly of between -0.5C and -1.0C. The pockets marked -0.5C are the least cold bits (i.e. anomaly between -0.5C and 0C)
Now compare GISS:
You can even change the GISS baseline to 1961-1990 to be sure.
It’s GISS that’s wrong.


John Finn-
You continue to ignore corrections about the AMSU satellite data. One more time: you cannot take the daily readings at face value. They have to be corrected because of satellite drift. Did you expect October 2008 UAH to be cooler than October 2007? It was, by .06C.
Yes, the satellite data confirms that much of Russia was warm. But not 4-13C above normal, as GISS’s map shows. Funny how it’s always the least populated areas that GISS broadbrushes with red…

Frank. Lansner

Todays forecasts tells that we will have quite a cooling within 14 days:
Explanation for the above:
Left column: Temperature anomaly for 10-17 nov
In the middle: Temperatures 10-17 nov.
Right column: Temperatures 18-26 nov
On the above you see that there are 8 coolings vs 1 warming region when going from 10-17nov to 18-26 nov.


I find it interesting that with all the technology available to us and all the money being spent we cannot get to a figure we can all agree on. Yet we are suppose to believe that scientists can figure out with total certainty what the temperature was a thousand years ago from looking at a few tree rings, sea shells and other proxies.

Leon Brozyna

However does GISS manage to do these things?
Silly question. Try this little trick, courtesy of a November 5 posting at ICECAP’s Blogosphere column (sorry, no direct link).
In that post there’s an image in pdf format (listed below) that compares two GISS graphs, sort of a before and after comparison, showing the effect of the adjustments GISS makes. When you click on the link and the pdf file comes up, use your arrow keys to alternate between the two images. You can see how earlier temperatures are adjusted downward and more recent temps are adjusted upward. As the author notes, Hansen seems to be creating his own hockey stick.
GISS — what’s that stand for? Gore’s Institute for Silly Science?


“Near-surface air temperatures in the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska were more than 7 degrees Celsius (13 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal and the warming extended well into higher levels of the atmosphere.”
(from the latest NSIDC press release)
Doesn’t seem to fit with this:
(click on “Anomaly”)
Also, surface temperatures at Barrow were far from record-breaking at a mean of -5.1C
(compared with e.g. 1902 at -3.8C, 1911 at -2.7C, 1938 at -3.8C, or 1949 at -4.5C to name some much earlier Octobers that were milder, alongside many more recent ones)
[ Of course, there’s also more urban heat effects these days, even at these high latitudes ]


I clicked on a station from Russia near the center of the huge temp anomalie (link posted by Bill Illis)
A third of that data in the monthly set is 999.9 (which I assume means it is missing).
I suspect the problem is that the GISS “algore-ithm is actually adding in the 999.9 as if it was real data.

Pieter F

How can Hansen be so out of step with the other data sets and the common sense observations? This past October was simply not that warm, whether one considers the general impression of weather reports or the satellite data. We will no doubt see the news media and the politicians pick up Hansen’s extreme without consideration of the other data sets.

Dave Andrews

Well guess what?. On some days here in North Wales (UK) it was really cold in October and on some other days it wasn’t. But that’s only weather.
However, if its warm in Siberia its climate according to GISS. Are they credible anymore?

Graeme Rodaughan

Hi Leon,
How long before the “Equatorial Global Warming Measurement Project” is initiated with the steady installation of new temperature stations along the equator that are then averaged over the world ground station data set.
A 10 year program that would provide a convenient method to keep the warmists happy.
(Just joking).


Well that’s interesting! The first station I click on in the “offending” dark orange area of Russia has a mean temperature of 8.1C for October. That’s pretty damn warm for 65.8 degrees north! And appears to beat the previous record by an impressive 7.5C. Except….. the mean temperature for September was also 8.1C. Coincidence?
Hmm, better check with its neighbour. Oh dear, it’s also well into positive numbers at 6.9C, way way way over previous years. OK I’m truly alarmed for the first time. The first station’s figure must have been correct. Except…. The second station had a figure of 6.9C for September too. Double coincidence?


Silly question …
I’m facing a religious problem.
I do not know how to express my feelings.
Let us pray
…and forgive us our trespasses,(emissions)
…but deliver us from CO2.
Maybe one day, will be compulsory in schools from around globe.

Michael Hauber

Also Cryosphere Today ice maps from October show noticeably less ice over Northern Asia than previous years.

RussS asked for a comparison of GISTEMP with satellite. Here’s the unsmoothed data of GISTEMP and RSS (baselines adjusted):
and the same smoothed:
Two things to note:
1) There have been times when GISTEMP has been way higher than RSS before, and vice versa
2) On average they track fairly well together.
I think this is probably a one or two-month blip, but given its magnitude granted it’s interesting to speculate on why it might be in terms of on-the-ground reality…

John M

I have the perfect “win-win”
Obama should appoint Hansen to an Adminstration post.
He can publish the monthly GDP numbers.
Dow 15,000, here we come!

Really interesting idea. Is there some way to get the data from the different measurements stations. The link you provided seem to be dead.


I hate to say this, but I fear science is not involved. This amounts to unmitigated gall. I feel it is pure propaganda.
I have become such a cynic that I believe they had two sets of data: One would be released if Republicans won, and another if Democrats won.
I confess I have no evidence to substantiate such a suspicion, but the way they re-re-re-re-adjust data just makes my stomach turn. Have they no shame?


OK, I’ve found 5 more Russian stations with Oct 08 mean temp identical to that of Sep 08. I don’t know how to react except by laughing. I mean, here we are in the 21st century, using the most incredible technology to communicate with each other around the world, in an era where we can send probes to Mars and watch videos on a mobile phone. And yet…… we’re wasting our time having to spot ridiculous errors in a simple database used to track mere surface temperature recordings?


My last comment (16:26) followed on from an earlier one, but the earlier one looks like it may have vanished? Just in case it doesn’t re-appear, here it is again:
Well that’s interesting! The first station I click on in the “offending” dark orange area of Russia has a mean temperature of 8.1C for October. That’s pretty damn warm for 65.8 degrees north! And appears to beat the previous record by an impressive 7.5C. Except….. the mean temperature for September was also 8.1C. Coincidence?
Hmm, better check with its neighbour. Oh dear, it’s also well into positive numbers at 6.9C, way way way over previous years. OK I’m truly alarmed for the first time. The first station’s figure must have been correct. Except…. The second station had a figure of 6.9C for September too. Double coincidence?

John Goetz

Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit forwarded me an email from John S. that said:

Hi Steve,
Thought you and John Goetz would be amused by the “rigorous data quality control” at GISS that produced the whopping .86 global anomaly for October, and the incredible brown blotch of superelevated temperatures in Russia and its periphery on their map, posted today. If you check the station data in that region, you’ll find that the October data at most stations has simply been carried over from September. Some colleagues in that region have already confirmed that October was indeed considerably colder than the previous month. Have fun with this whopper!
John S.

Steve did a spot check on some Russian sites and…sure enough…John S. is correct!!!
I will need to do some more research tonight to see if the source is GISS, NOAA, or the Russian Meteo.
I apologize for being slow here. I had leg surgery recently which has, literally, slowed me down some.

I had to walk out of the opening general session of a wildfire conference in Tampa this past week when, during an “expert” panel discussion, the gentleman from NOAA announced that the wildfires in Alaska will most assuredly become larger and more frequent over the next century, due mainly to the 20°F rise in temperature, caused, of course, by AGW. (The rest of the world is going to burn to cinders from AGW, too, but Alaska’s temps are, apparently, going to equal sub-Saharan Africa… Nevermind that almost a century of intensive fire suppression and unscientific forest management practices [Read: Zero logging in fire-suppressed forests] have been scientifically proven to be the de facto reasons for increased fire intensity and severity, along with the vastly-increased wildland/urban interface areas, across the US & Canada.)
During the course of the next few days, I talked to a number of fellow pyromaniacs fire professionals who just shook their heads in disgust at the unmitigated, unsubstantiated AGW fear-mongering by the NOAA representative. We’ll keep on doing our parts to try to help keep the citizens of the U.S. safe from wildfires and Anthropogenic Global Cooling™ by continuing to do what we do best— Burning the woods and adding millions of tons of CO2 to the atmosphere. 🙂
Keep up the great work, Anthony [snip]

During September I was looking regularly on the weather prediction maps of Asia and Northern Amerika in order to find out why certain parts of the Arctic sea were gaining some much ice extent so rapidly.
The biggest gains in ice extent happened along the Siberian coast, temperatures there were much colder than in northern Alaska. Also, there was a lot of snow falling in Siberia during October, more than last year. See the UIUC ice extent maps.
All this is inconsistent with the GISS October map mentioned here.
In contrast, Russia up to Ural quite often had considerably warmer temperatures than Germany.
My best guess is they made an honest mistake like the one suggested by Bruce.


Wow, I can’t believe GISS would make the mistake of carrying over September’s Russian numbers into October (if that indeed is what happened)…that certainly would explain the huge area of ridiculous warmth (up to 13.7C above normal, apparently, lol) over Siberia – no doubt greatly contributed to the warm GISS number for October.
As several of us have been saying, temperatures that warm would simply not support the rapid ice/snow growth seen in that area over the past month.

Chris V.

Russ asked:
“Can you over lay the GISS plot with the Satellite plot, to show the difference?”
Here’s another one, comparing GISS, Hadley, UAH, and RSS:
Once you get past the short-term noise, there isn’t a heckuva lot of difference between them.
How anyone can claim that GISS is somehow fudging their data is beyond me.

Patrick Kiser

Quite simply, there is an input error.
In completing random check of the cities in warm area, every city with October 2008 data has identical data for both October and September:
Moskva 10.9 both months
Kraznojarsk 8.6 both months
Turuhansk 8.1 both months
Tarko-Sale 6.9 both months
Bor 8.1 both months
These were just the first five I’ve checked. I did also look at data in the US (St. Louis) and France (Dijon), and these appear to be actual temperatures.
Given that they are using September temperature readings for October, it is no surprise that they are getting such a large positive anomaly. I would be interested in finding out if there is an efficient way to notify NASA of these errors, so that they can correct their number.


You all know I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but could this be a sneaky way to set up the BO presidency with an urgent need to regulate CO2?