From Dr. Roy Spencer:
Latest Global Average Tropospheric Temperatures
(Want to see how the current month’s temperatures are shaping up? Check this out.)
Since 1979, NOAA satellites have been carrying instruments which measure the natural microwave thermal emissions from oxygen in the atmosphere. The signals that these microwave radiometers measure at different microwave frequencies are directly proportional to the temperature of different, deep layers of the atmosphere. Every month, John Christy and I update global temperature datasets (see here and here)that represent the piecing together of the temperature data from a total of eleven instruments flying on eleven different satellites over the years. As of early 2011, our most stable instrument for this monitoring is the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU-A) flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite and providing data since late 2002.
The graph above represents the latest update; updates are usually made within the first week of every month. Contrary to some reports, the satellite measurements are not calibrated in any way with the global surface-based thermometer record of temperature. They instead use their own on-board precision redundant platinum resistance thermometers calibrated to a laboratory reference standard before launch.