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GISS Land Temperature Trends Not Supported By Satellites

February 16, 2015

By Paul Homewood  


Since the start of satellite temperature measurements in 1979, land temperatures, according to GISS, have been rising almost twice as fast as the lower atmospheric temperatures over land have.




Between 1979 and 2014, GISS recorded an increase of 0.68C. This compares to 0.49C and 0.38C for UAH and RSS respectively.

It is commonly claimed, when convenient, that satellites and surface stations are measuring different things, and therefore we should not be comparing them.

This is nonsense. In 2013, Peter Stott of the UK Met Office stated:


“Changes in temperature observed in surface data records are corroborated by records of temperatures in the troposphere recorded by satellites”


Indeed, models suggest that the lower and mid troposphere should be warming faster than the surface.



Roy Spencer explains why the difference is likely to have occurred:


The satellite instruments measure nearly every cubic kilometer – hell, every cubic inch — of the lower atmosphere on a daily basis. You can travel hundreds if not thousands of kilometers without finding a thermometer nearby.

Granted, the satellites are less good at sampling right near the poles, but compared to the very sparse data from the thermometer network we are in fat city coverage-wise with the satellite data.

In my opinion, though, a bigger problem than the spotty sampling of the thermometer data is the endless adjustment game applied to the thermometer data. The thermometer network is made up of a patchwork of non-research quality instruments that were never made to monitor long-term temperature changes to tenths or hundredths of a degree, and the huge data voids around the world are either ignored or in-filled with fictitious data.

Furthermore, land-based thermometers are placed where people live, and people build stuff, often replacing cooling vegetation with manmade structures that cause an artificial warming (urban heat island, UHI) effect right around the thermometer. The data adjustment processes in place cannot reliably remove the UHI effect because it can’t be distinguished from real global warming.




Of all of these problems, I believe that UHI is the major issue. 

  1. Brad permalink
    February 16, 2015 6:49 pm

    I audit buildings for energy use and one of the most common problems is correct sensor placement.
    I love finding outside air (OSA) sensors in full sunlight attached to a dark wall. Nowhere near where they actually pull OSA into the HVAC system.
    I also find bldgs that use an OSA sensor in an adjacent bldg, or even using the local weather station 10 miles down the road.

  2. Scott M permalink
    February 16, 2015 6:54 pm

    “Indeed, models suggest that the lower and mid troposphere should be warming faster than the surface”

    Any they likely are if the surface temps were as accurate as the satellite temps.

  3. Eliza permalink
    February 16, 2015 8:20 pm

    Mr Homewood. Judith has posted one hell of a posting! These are top meteorologists/physicists ect recalling their experiences with the AGW drivel. There on the brink of all becoming deniers! Me thinks it gonna be a real killer for that AGW movement LOL actaully conceding that you/SG were correct re adjustments, when you read through the posts.

  4. Bloke down the pub permalink
    February 16, 2015 9:28 pm

    How long before we start to see some impact from USCRN?

  5. February 16, 2015 10:18 pm

    UHI & the Global Warming scare for beginners

  6. February 17, 2015 5:09 am

    Interesting the match between RSS and UAH since RSS is thought to be corrupted by the fall in temperature in the lower stratosphere.

    I wonder if RSS is not now where it ought be and the imputed downward trend (relative to UAH) results from earlier overestimation resulting from increased temperature in the lower stratosphere?

    This is not my field so I will merely pose the question.

  7. February 17, 2015 8:21 am

    Isn’t it amazing how the land temperatures dramatically digressed from the sea surface temperatures after 1980 in the HadCRUT datasets too? Sea surface and land surface temperatures *should* necessarily run in close concert to one another, considering the effects of the modeled “well-mixed greenhouse gases” and *global*, not regional, warming.

    Anyone notice anything different about this NASA graph of global temperatures from Hansen (1981) compared to what the adjusted 1880-1980 temperatures look like today?

    • AndyG55 permalink
      February 17, 2015 9:07 am

      And another sea surface temp with 1940 higher than 1980

      Its all one big data mal-fabrication !!!

    • AndyG55 permalink
      February 17, 2015 9:10 am

      As Tom Wigley said…..

      That 1940’s peak was darn inconvenient for the warmist agenda. !

      Squash it, flatten it… whatever it takes !!!

      • February 17, 2015 3:34 pm

        Climategate e-mails (openly discussing the removing some of the 1940s “blip” in the HadCRUT by artificially removing 0.15 C of the cooling) :

        Tom Wigley to Phil Jones Sep 27, 2009:

        “If you look at the attached plot you will see that the land also shows the 1940s blip (as I’m sure you know). So, if we could reduce the ocean blip by, say, 0.15 degC, then this would be significant for the global mean — but we’d still have to explain the land blip. I’ve chosen 0.15 here deliberately. This still leaves an ocean blip, and i think one needs to have some form of ocean blip to explain the land blip (via either some common forcing, or ocean forcing land, or vice versa, or all of these). When you look at other blips, the land blips are 1.5 to 2 times (roughly) the ocean blips — higher sensitivity plus thermal inertia effects. My 0.15 adjustment leaves things consistent with this, so you can see where I am coming from. Removing ENSO does not affect this. It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip, but we are still left with “why the blip”. Let me go further. If you look at NH vs SH and the aerosol effect (qualitatively or with MAGICC) then with a reduced ocean blip we get continuous warming in the SH, and a cooling in the NH — just as one would expect with mainly NH aerosols. The other interesting thing is (as Foukal et al. note — from MAGICC) that the 1910-40 warming cannot be solar. The Sun can get at most 10% of this with Wang et al solar, less with Foukal solar. So this may well be NADW, as Sarah and I noted in 1987 (and also Schlesinger later). A reduced SST blip in the 1940s makes the 1910-40 warming larger than the SH (which it currently is not) — but not really enough. So … why was the SH so cold around 1910? Another SST problem? (SH/NH data also attached.) This stuff is in a report I am writing for EPRI, so I’d appreciate any comments you (and Ben) might have. Tom.”—rdquohide-the-declinerdquo-79.php

  8. February 17, 2015 3:52 pm

    One of the classic problems for Hadcrut temperatures as well as GISS and NOAA (USHCN+GHCN) are the numerous temperature corrections that generally results in temperature graphs with stronger warming trend after 1940.

    Checkout reportage from Russian TV (in English) recorded in Copenhagen during COP15. It turns out that CRU has only used a limited number of the available temperature stations in Russia. Therefore only 40% the Russian area is represented in the CRU data. Mainly Temperature data from Northern sibiria with no temperature rise since 1940 has been skipped by CRU.

  9. February 18, 2015 2:06 am

    I have a BSEE and 35 years Electro-Optical experience in measuring infrared signals. Some say, “I know CO2 is a greenhouse gas. I know it will cause back-radiation.” Please, how do you know that? Atmospheric CO2 and H2O “absorb” no EM flux, as they pass all onto space along with there own contribution to exit flux. Translucent gas at or above the temperature above radiative equilibrium cannot absorb flux. They act only as a low pass filter for spatial, spectral, and temporal “variance” of that exit flux. that is the only thing ever observed or measured. There is no possible way to distinguish “flux” through the translucency and “flux” from that translucency.
    Satellites cannot measure this flux or temperature. They measure only radiative intensity over a limited bandwidth, and over a limited and ill defined solid angle, generally with aperture and field stops reversed.

  10. b dussan permalink
    February 20, 2015 4:26 pm

    Some questions about satellite data:

    What type of satellites are used [geosynchronous, geostationary, orbiting….]?

    What and where do the satellites measure the temperature of [a tiny or huge “volume” of air near land/ocean surface or at what elevation range?

    Have satellite measurements been corroborated with land or balloon measurements?

    How “accurate” are the satellite temperature measurements?

    I doubt that satellites measure temperatures at a given spot time and time again as do surface weather stations. And I also doubt the validity of satellite data vis a vis surface data.

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