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UAH Global Temperature Update For Dec 2018

January 3, 2019

By Paul Homewood



Roy Spencer reports that UAH have now published their figures for December:

2018 was 6th Warmest Year Globally of Last 40 Years

The Version 6.0 global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for December, 2018 was +0.25 deg. C, down a little from +0.28 deg. C in November.

The 2018 globally averaged temperature anomaly, adjusted for the number of days in each month, is +0.23 deg. C, making 2018 the 6th warmest year in the now-40 year satellite record of global lower tropospheric temperature variations.

The linear temperature trend of the global average lower tropospheric temperature anomalies from January 1979 through December 2018 remains at +0.13 C/decade.


As Roy points out, this makes 2018 the 6th warmest year since 1979. Effectively, however, it means it is also the 6th warmest since 1998, and confirms that global temperatures have more or less plateaued since 1998.

It puts 2018 behind 1998, 2010, 2015, 2016 and 2017.


  1. The Man at the Back permalink
    January 3, 2019 11:28 am

    Yes the Earth’s average temperature (if such a thing actually exists) has not altered much for 20 years and Arctic Sea Ice area has not changed much for a decade either (maybe it has even thickened somewhat, increasing the volume) – the climate fake news is definitely increasing!!

    The news headlines on BBC Radio 2 at 8am rarely contains anything pertinent to real life, but today the Horrobin was on himself. – Today it was more interesting than usual, though it is always wise not to believe much of the slant put on it.

    1. China lands probe on Moon.

    2. Electricity use in the UK per capita lowest since the 1980’s (due to LED’s and improved efficiency) – no mention of shipping manufacturing to the country in No.1.

    3. This last year the UK generated one third of its electricity from renewables!!!

    4. More Tuna due to warming oceans, but this warming will lead to doom in the future.

    5. Apple profits fall due poor sales in China. Obviously they are not capable of making their own phones – Oh wait a minute!

    Oh well must get on.

  2. Tony Budd permalink
    January 3, 2019 11:41 am

    Paul: Has anybody actually calculated the total heat released into the atmosphere since we started burning coal and oil two or more centuries ago? Judging by the very obvious heat islands around major cities it is quite substantial, and I suspect it outdoes greenhouse gas contributions. But presumably like any other warm body, the Earth just transmits more heat into space eventually, the warmer it gets until it stabilises  at a slightly higher level. And as a geology graduate (’63!) I’m constantly puzzled by phrases like “the end of the last ice age” – we haven’t got there yet. Neither Greenland nor Antarctica would “normally” – i.e. inter-glacially – have major icecaps.  Having said that, releasing large amounts of carbon previously sequestered underground for several hundred-million years is probably not a very good idea. But hey, the dinosaurs survived a lot longer than the mammals have so far, so it can’t have been that bad. I think the climate modellers should run the models from say 10,000BC to the present and see if they predict the warm and cold periods in the historical records. Keep up the good work – much appreciated. Yours, Tony Budd

    • Ian Magness permalink
      January 3, 2019 12:45 pm

      From another lapsed geo….
      Your comment raises an interesting point that I have been cogitating about for quite a while (to no good answer). When you see classic heat flux diagrams they tend to concentrate on energy coming from the Sun, which then hits the Earth’s surface with some absorbed, some bouncing back into space and some retained in the atmosphere. As you imply, what you don’t see is energy released by human activities (save for the occasional reference to UHI). Is it too insignificant? Maybe.
      That is interesting enough but consider this: the Sun – generally accepted as our major climate control – has a surface temperature of around 6,000C. However, by coincidence we have another potential heat source where temperatures are believed to reach 6,000C and beyond – it’s called the Earth’s Inner Core. Now, for all sorts of reasons too detailed to note in this comment, it is not at all as simple as it sounds, so we are not comparing like with like.
      Nevertheless, why is our infinitely nearer heat source never considered in the diagrams? Is it really so trivial that it doesn’t matter? Is the great majority of that Inner Core heat never released to the Earth’s surface? The answer to that last question is maybe, but some is undoubtedly released by plate tectonics and associated volcanic activity. The Core heat thus doesn’t necessarily stay trapped for ever, so are these planetary emissions of heat again just too trivial to worry about in the context of climate science where we seem to be panicking about a supposed average surface temperature change of 0.1C per decade?
      I’m glad all this science is “settled”….

      • dave permalink
        January 3, 2019 4:28 pm

        The flow of heat from the inside of the earth is indeed trivial, at about a thousand-th of that from the sun. A forteriori, the CHANGE in the heat flow from the inside is even more trivial (at least on the time scale of humans) and therefore completely irrelevant to CHANGE in heat budgets of the oceans and air.

        However, indirect consequences of the geological activity may have noticeable effects, such as such as when emissions of sulphur dioxide block out the sun with aerosols.

        It is worth pointing out again when comparing temperature anomalies to those in 1998 that there is 10% more CO2 in the air now! You can be absolutely certain that if 2018 were “hotter”.than 1998 the difference would be blamed entirely on this.

    • Broadlands permalink
      January 3, 2019 2:02 pm

      Tony… the geological and geochemical evidence does little to engender confidence in the computer models predicting “catastrophic” warming…unless we act now.

      Nature 461, 1110-1113 (22 October 2009) Atmospheric carbon dioxide through the Eocene–Oligocene climate transition Paul N. Pearson, Gavin L. Foster, Bridget S. Wade

      “Geological and geochemical evidence indicates that the Antarctic ice sheet formed during the Eocene–Oligocene transition 33.5–34.0 million years ago. Modelling studies suggest that such ice-sheet formation might have been triggered when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels fell below a critical threshold of ~750 p.p.m.v. During maximum ice-sheet growth, pCO2 was between 450 and 1,500 p.p.m.v., with a central estimate of 760 p.p.m.v.”

      “We also find a sharp pCO2 atm increase after maximum ice growth as the global carbon cycle adjusted to the presence of a large ice cap.”

      CO2 was already double what it is now 34 Myr-ago. The climate was mild, the plant life was lush. The pH of the oceans was lower than now but the carbonate-secreting plankton were not affected by “acidification”. This would seem to falsify a “settled” climate “armageddon” future?

  3. A C Osborn permalink
    January 3, 2019 12:06 pm

    The point to remember about the Satellite data is that it is NOT measuring the temperature on the surface that we experience on a daily basis.
    It is in fact measuring the brightness of the atmosphere at a height where the average temperature is -9C, so it is effectively measuring the heat leaving the earth via the atmosphere.
    It also started at the end of the 1970s global cooling scare, so it is a good job it is showing an overall increase.
    Dr Spencer also points out that the global temperature they measure is dominated by the land of the Northern Hemisphere, but strangely enough the temperatures for various areas show no relationship with what is going on at ground level. ie Northern US was 1.5C warmer than baseline and yet many areas of the northern US experienced record breaking low temperatures and masses of snow.

    • JimW permalink
      January 3, 2019 7:26 pm

      The points you make are crucial. The so called satellite ‘temperatures’ are outputs of models from radiance. The satellite data is also useless above 60deg N, yet where consistently are the greatest ‘anomaly’ monthly numbers? Above 60deg N. 16% of the surface of the NH is above 60degN , if these guesses were ignored , the ‘anomalies’ would be little more than noise around zero.
      ‘Models and anomalies’! GIGO. Even using the tampered and messaged data from Berkely Earth , the graphs by Bob Tisdale over at WUWT of temperatures show the extent of the increases over a century. Nothing that a human being would be able to register in daily life.

  4. Jack Broughton permalink
    January 3, 2019 1:30 pm

    Interesting first graph, shows very well why the AGW panic arose in the 1990s. The temperature anomaly increased by 1 deg K over 7 years then: i.e. 14 deg K/ century = Armageddon !!!

    There seems to be a cyclic behaviour every 4 years, this is not one of the usually reported earth cycles: wonder why???

    The slow recovery from the LIA is probably all that is really being shown in these temperature anomaly graphs: who would really want to go back to such a climate?

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    January 3, 2019 3:51 pm

    MO has decided 2018 year’s CET was the 4th warmest (Dec 2018 joint 15th).

    Nearly all the hottest CET years are very recent but they are working to 2 decimal p!aces, so for example, 2018 was very similar to 1949. And you don’t have to go very far down the rankings to start finding years from long long ago.

    What all this means? Is the CET reliable any more? Who knows?

  6. January 3, 2019 5:34 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  7. OCBill permalink
    January 3, 2019 7:03 pm

    Interesting to see the big impact the Pinatubo eruption had in 1991/1992 and the gradual re-warming over the next few years. Seems to coincide pretty well with the birth of the global warming hysteria.

  8. January 3, 2019 7:06 pm

    We will definitely be back in Little Ice Age conditions if the current climate change trend continues for about another decade.

  9. January 3, 2019 7:32 pm

    global temperatures have more or less plateaued since 1998

    That used to be called the pause before the propagandists objected 😉

    • dave permalink
      January 4, 2019 10:27 am

      The ocean determines everything eventually because its heat capacity is 1,600 times that of the atmosphere..

      The Argo data has been “good” since about 2005. It shows that the ocean has absorbed enough heat energy during the decade from 2005 to 2014 to raise its ensemble (field) of temperatures by 0.01 C. So that MEANS that the whole system has absorbed enough heat to raise its entire ensemble of temperatures (including the air at the level of our noses) also by 0.01 C.

      However there are caveats since the ocean mixes only over centuries. If we assume – entirely reasonably – that over a decade the excess heat spreads into the top 10% of the ocean the effect on sea surface temperatures in that time might be given an upper limit of
      + 0.1 C — which is pretty much what the satellite analyses show. Not quite a pause but certainly a very slow change.

      There is a further interesting finding. The ocean from 20 S to 60 N has not warmed at all. All the heat is going into the region 20 S to 60 S. To me this is a marker of natural non-global processes.

      • dave permalink
        January 4, 2019 10:45 am

        There is a further interesting conclusion. The heat that didn’t go into the oceans from 20 S to 60 N must have gone into the air and based on heat capacities should have raised temperatures by 10 to 20 C. But of course that did not happen which shows that “excess heat in the air is automatically and quickly radiated away into outer space which is what the Stefan-Boltzman tells us must happen.

        It is all obvious, simple science. If heat energy goes into the oceans it raises temperatures, but slowly*. If, instead, heat goes into the atmosphere it disappears leaving no permanent change in temperatures.

        * After a while SST will actually drop as the heat goes deeper.

  10. SmileyNH permalink
    January 3, 2019 9:41 pm

    The headline should be, “Pause continues despite NASA/NOAA attempts to remove it.” The un-tampered data would be much worse for the AGW crowd.

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