November Global Temperature Update Delayed

December 9th, 2011 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

There has been a delay in our monthly processing of global temperature data from AMSU.

An undersea telecommunications cable used to transmit about half of the huge volume of data coming from the Aqua satellite was cut in late November off the coast of the Netherlands, delaying receipt of that data. While there were redundant data transmission capabilities, apparently both failed.

Also, John Christy and I have been on separate travels quite a bit lately (I spent 2 weeks in Miami after my daughter had an emergency C-section — I’m a grandpa!) and now I’m at the AGU in San Francisco, with a trip to DC early next week, so monitoring of the situation has been difficult.

Version 6 of the UAH Dataset is in the Works

I have been working on a new diurnal drift correction for the UAH global temperature dataset, which will be released as Version 6 when it is finished.

The orbital drift of most of the satellites carrying the AMSUs (and earlier MSUs) has been the largest source of uncertainty in getting long-term satellite temperature trends, and the correction for this drift has been a research topic for us off-and-on for many years.

Fortunately, there has always been at least one satellite operating without significant drift, and so we have used those satellites as a “backbone”, or anchor, for the others. The Aqua satellite is the only one which has its orbit maintained with on-board propulsion, but channel 5 on the Aqua AMSU instrument has become increasingly noisy in recent years, so we anticipate at some point we will no longer be able to rely on it, thus the need for a new diurnal drift adjustment.

I’m hopeful that the new procedure I’ve developed will work well, which is rather novel and is mostly insensitive to instrument calibration (see if you can figure out how that would work, wink-wink). The ultimate test will be the removal of long-term drift between simultaneously operating satellites, which also depends on season. It should allow us to get better regional temperature trends, land-vs-ocean trends, and remove some spurious season-dependent differences in temperature trends.

The earliest Version 6 of the UAH dataset would be available is the early January update of the December temperature data.

44 Responses to “November Global Temperature Update Delayed”

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  1. Espen says:

    Thank you for the update, and congratulations on your grandchild! I hope all is well with your daughter, too.

  2. Ray says:

    Thanks for the update Dr.Spencer.
    Presumably the data are only delayed and not lost permanently?

  3. JJ says:

    Congrats on the new ankle biter.

    I am curious. Where are these delayed data being transmitted from? Is this over a dedicated transmission line, and not the internet?

  4. dawoud says:

    Thank you
    Success in solving this problem
    Everyone in the Middle East depends on you to know the global temperature

  5. Joe Bastardi says:


    I pray your daughter and grandchild are growing stronger by the minute,

    Does it seem curious to you that with the threat of a global free fall in temp the next few months, the data line for the objective measuring system was cut, and the back up failed?

    • danj says:

      That does seem like a strange coincidence. Welcome to the world of grandparenting, Dr. Roy! It is one of life’s best chores…DJ

  6. Stephen Wilde says:

    I’m trying to suppress a degree of unworthy suspicion.

    Hopefully the data will be available in due course and not interfered with in any way.

  7. MarkR says:

    Congratulations on the grandkid Roy, I hope your daughter’s recovering well!

  8. Adam Gallon says:

    Congratulations Grandpa! Boy that makes you feel old! I assume the cable was cut by an earthquake, caused by all the heavy rain washing topsoil away!

  9. Benke says:

    Congratulations grandpa Roy!

  10. Joe Bastardi says:

    By the way Roy, at 56 my two kids, 15 and 12 call me grandpa already sometime.. but there is nothing like the real deal.


  11. RW says:

    Yes, congratulations indeed on being a grandpa!

  12. Barry says:

    You have to assume that the data is being withheld until after Durban to avoid any inconvenient truths spoiling their self-serving, self-indulgent, snouts in the trough drinks fest.

  13. amblin says:

    The lizard people have revealed themselves once again. They can breathe underwater. The cables are underwater. Put two and two together. You have to assume this.

  14. AJ says:

    Congrats Roy!!

    Just curious… since you are developing a new version, will the Simultaneous Nadir Overpass (SNO) method, used by STAR, be considered to stitch the satellites records together. I’ve read some opinions that this is a superior method for this purpose.

  15. Lonnie E. Schubert says:

    Congrats to the baby, the mommy, and the grandpa!

  16. Dave says:

    Congratulations, Grandpa. I trust your daughter and the new arrival are doing well now and comfortably ensconced at home.

    🙂 Life can change quickly when one’s children start building their own families. My two married in their thirties and built lives with their spouses for a while before children. Four years ago, I was an expectant Grandpa. Today, there are four grandchildren and a fifth is expected.

    Thanks for finding time to apprise your UAH/AMSU audience of the cause(s) of delay in publication of November data update.

  17. Ted says:

    So many conspiracy theories!

    Maybe Drs. Spencer and Christy are working extra hard to adjust their data and “hide the increase”!

  18. Thanks Dr. Spencer,

    I hope the new graphic will be released soon.
    My best wishes for your daughter and new grandkid.

  19. Bu Jiang says:

    The RSS data for Nov. is already up.
    I guess their cable didn’t get cut by
    the Lizard people.

    2011 7 0.328
    2011 8 0.286
    2011 9 0.287
    2011 10 0.089
    2011 11 0.033

    You can compare with the UAH numbers from Roy

    2011 7 +0.374
    2011 8 +0.327
    2011 9 +0.289
    2011 10 +0.114

    So a reasonable prediction for Nov. UAH would be around +0.06, although clearly the difference between the two is not constant.

  20. Geo says:

    Congrats Dr. Spencer!

    Any estimate of when we might expect the November data??

  21. RobertvdL says:

    Congratulations, Grandpa. Enjoy every moment. One more reason to save the world with real science.

  22. Threepwood says:

    re. the global temp record from satellites:

    Anyone know if are there any studies/charts of the data looking specifically at the comparison with polar and tropical trends?

    i.e. isn’t the signature of enhanced greenhouse effect a more EVEN temp across the globe- not the overall ave. temp which can easily swing in either direction regardless-
    over a year, decade, century, for all kinds of reasons?

    isn’t the convergence or divergence of polar v. tropical temps far more relevant?

    • Bu Jiang says:


      I am not sure what you mean here, but . . .

      Models of AGW say that the poles should warm faster than the tropics, and the attempts to measure temperature trends show that the warming near the poles is much higher. Just google, and you will find many examples. Of course you can argue that the data at the poles is suspect because of the lack of instrumentation or that the whole lot is bogus because the science teams tamper with the data.

      Arrhenius himself predicted over 100 years ago that global warming due to CO2 should be stronger in winter than summer (and in fact, he may have been influenced by an earlier statement from 1865). Indeed, satellite data show a higher warming trend in winter temps than summer. Of course, this could be a natural variation in some summer/winter temperature oscillation that we don’t know about because nobody ever get funded to look for natural variations.
      Or the scientists faked the data to get funding.

      Another interesting tidbit is that AGW theory predicts that the stratosphere should actually cool as the planet warms due to the greenhouse effect. It is a simple energy budget calculation: more trapped heat down low means less heat in the stratosphere. The RSS homepage shows decadal trends for temperature at the surface (+0.14) and in the low stratosphere (-0.303). The stratosphere temperatures have leveled off though, so maybe this strong decline was just a natural fluctuation which has now reversed.


  23. geo says:

    Congrats, Grandpa! Nice to have a reminder of what really matters amongst the daily barrage of slings and arrows, eh?

  24. nigel raymond says:

    When I was an investment manager, I would
    look at an historical chart of, say, the
    price of gold. But, really, the historical aspect
    was not important to my performance as a manager.
    If the price of gold had stayed high all year
    but was now low and I still had my holding – had
    missed the chance to sell – the value was still only
    the present market value. I would have looked pretty
    silly telling a client “Look, the average price
    through the year was $1,500 and I bought for you at
    $1,200. I am a genius and I demand a bonus. (Oh, umm,
    the last price is $1,100.”

    Obviously an historical record of temperature anomalies
    will give information from which future anomalies
    might be deduced. But when all is said and done, the
    present temperature anomaly is all that affects us –
    today, it is a little warmer than usual in my neck of
    the woods and I have not switched the heating on; tomorrow
    it may be colder, who knows?

    In forecasting, the “naive forecast” is just the most
    recent value. And the naive forecast is very hard to beat!

  25. An Inquirer says:

    Thank you, Bu Jian, for your contribution.
    On your first tidbit: Many recent models have the Arctic warming, but the Antarctic lagging for decades before beginning a warming trend. This adjustment in the models appears to due to ability to fit the models to recent observations.
    On your second point: that Arrhenius predicted global warming due to CO2 to be stronger in winter than summer. I wonder if ocean temperatures over the last few decades agree with this prediction. I have no problem accepting that land temperatures have increased more in the winter than in the summer, but the cause of phenomenon could be just as much due to changes in land use and our methods of collecting data as to CO2 increases. Having lived nearly 60 years, I have seen significant changes in the winter landscape due to development, and I suspect that such development could impact the temperature record. Therefore, I would be curious about the ocean record on winter vs. summer.
    On your third tidbit: that RSS decadal trends for temperature at the surface is (+0.14) and in the low stratosphere is (-0.303). I believe that such a multi-decadal summation is misleading. All the drops in stratospheric temperatures have occurred around major volcanic eruptions in low latitudes. Since the last such volcanic eruption, there has been no decrease in stratospheric temperatures — perhaps even a minor and insignificant increase.

  26. Leopoldo says:

    Congratulations grandpa Roy!

  27. nigel raymond says:


    Yes, I was aware, in a general way.

    Anything that discomfits warmist fanatics is

    HOWEVER, I do not think “averaging” of temperatures
    (or deviations, i.e. anomalies) really makes sense.

    Averaging through time seems pointless – which I was
    trying to indicate with my comparison to a stock or
    commodity chart.

    Averaging spatially seems close to meaningless, as
    you can’t “average averages” and temperatures are
    averages (of molecular energies).

    The theorem that you can’t average averages can be
    illustrated with an easy example. Imagine that you
    have a class of 40 boys and girls. The boys have an
    average height of 100 cm and the girls an average
    height of 90 cm. What can you infer about the average
    height of the class? Nothing, beyond that the average
    must lie between 100 cm and 90 cm. You need to know the
    numbers of boys and girls – which the averages do not
    tell you.

    • Tim with Tools says:


      You can find the “average” (i.e. mean value)
      of any function of of any number of variables
      (random or deterministic, time or space). You
      are correct that it is not a simple average in the case
      you cite, but a weighted average which takes
      into account the number of boys and girls. In the continuous
      random variable case, “weighted average” becomes an
      integral over the pdf, but it is still perfectly

      Temperatures in climate science are always
      averages, usually over both time and space. Averaging
      actually is useful since the values are always noisy,
      and assuming independence in the noise means averages
      are more accurate “on average” than single observations.

      For example, if you invested money in a variable interest rate fund where the rate changed daily and the principle was compounded continuously, knowing only the interest rate at the end of the year wouldn’t tell you squat about the amount of money you made (the average rate of return). You would get much more information if you knew the temporal average of the rate over the year. You could get an even better guess if you knew monthly averages of the rate, and an even better guess if you knew the weekly ones. This is how one “averages” averages.

      BTW, I am NOT a “warming fanatic”, but I am
      a statistician, and I am guessing you are not.

  28. david says:

    re: global temps, money and investing. As I’ve stated before in other posts: why not apply technical indicators used in the stock market that help identify trends. Such as MACD, momentum, RSI, CCI, etc. These are inert/objective trend indicators that show if a current price is expected to go up or down. Simply apply them to global temps, e.g. GISS data since 1880, and you’ll find that the MACD for example using (12, 26, 9) EMAs (in years) shows a clear “sell-signal” since early 2010. Note that these are lagging indicators (to make sure you’re on the “right side of the trade”) In other terms: GISS temps show a trend in the opposite direction of AGW… This is a unbiased, simple approach and I am surprised it hasn’t been applied yet. Or has it???

    • Ansgar John says:

      David, I don’t know. Burt Rutan, a genius aircraft and spaceship designer has approached it with the tools of his trade. He disagrees on this issue with Richard Branson who bought SpaceShipTwo from him. See Burt Rutan AGW on

  29. Ansgar John says:

    Nigel, I don’t get it. What measurement would be relevant to you? You can’t say if it was very hot yesterday, Monday, and the day before Sunday, it was even hotter, but today Tuesday it’s mild, so there is no global warming.
    I don’t get it. (I am trying to keep it simple to understand.)

  30. Espen says:

    Tim with Tools: One problem with the “global temperature” average, is that temperature doesn’t measure heat content. If we really wanted a precise measure of the heat content of the atmosphere, we would need a measure of “global average enthalpy”. For instance, a 1 degree temperature difference during winter in the Arctic desert of e.g. Ellesmere Island represents just a fraction of the latent heat difference if the temperature changes 1 degree in the tropics. Suppose, for instance, that at time=t1 both polar caps have an anomaly of -1C while the tropics and subtropics has an anomaly of +0.3C. , and that at time=t2, the polar caps have an anomaly of +1C and the tropics have an anomaly of -0.3C. Then the global average temperature may come out higher at t2 than at t1 – but for the atmospheric heat content, it’s probably the other way round.

  31. Threepwood says:

    The North gets all the attention since it seems to have trended higher than global ave’s with diminishing sea ice-

    while the South is generally ignored having done the exact opposite

    The November 2010 Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent was 4.09 percent above the 19792000 average. This was the largest November Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent on record. Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent for November has increased at an average rate of 0.7 percent per decade.(NOAA)

  32. nigel raymond says:

    To Tim with tools:

    “You can find the “average” (i.e. mean value) of
    any function of any number of variables…”

    You can do this if the variable stands merely for
    a number, but not always when the variable stands
    for a physical quantity – i.e. when dimensions
    (in the sense used in “dimensional analysis”) are

    The usual scientific system has five basic dimensions.
    They are mass (M), length (L), time (T), electrical
    current (I), and temperature (theta). The last
    is clearly different from the first four – and that
    is because it really a disguised average of microscopic
    conditions. If you combine two people, then: from their two masses, you get a combined mass; from their two lengths, you get a combined head-to-toe length; from their two ages, you get a total of years-lived; if you attach the unfortunates, in parallel, to a battery the sum of the currents through them will give the total current from the battery; if you add their two body temperatures you will get…gibberish in the dimensions.

    “Temperatures in climate science are always averages…”

    To that extent, I suggest, climate science does not rest
    on good physics.

    Sometimes the word “average” is not used in the sense of
    “a mean” but in the sense of “representative value”. One
    might understand a sentence such as “In London, in July,
    the average maximum temperature is 25 degrees C” as
    meaning “In London, in July, it is ‘T-shirt weather’,
    most afternoons, but rarely is it ‘bikini weather'”. And,
    truthfully, that is about all the meaning I can see in it.
    There are other uses, of course, for “average” climate
    data – such as the sort of information a farmer finds
    needful, knowing the peculiarities of his crops.

    “I am a statistician, but I guessing that you are not a statistician.”

    Your guess is wrong.

    To Asgar John:

    “I don’t get it”

    It is like tooth-ache. If it is not hurting today,
    it does not matter a bit that it was hurting yesterday.
    Of course, if yesterday’s toothache means that tomorrow
    the toothache will be back (because it is rotten and we
    have not been to the dentist) then yesterday’s toothache
    does matter, but only as a warning, not as some stored-up

    “What measurement would be relevant to you?”

    None that are on offer.

    To Espen, who was addressing Tim with tools:

    “Heat content” is indeed a perfectly sensible concept,
    (unlike “average temperature”, as I have suggested) but
    how can one define the boundaries of “the system” when
    different processes take diferent times? The heat capacity of the Oceans is at least a thousand times that of the Atmosphere. However, the cold Ocean sink only operates on a scale of several hundred years, since that is how long it takes for the Thermo-Haline circulation to turn the water over once, and thus thoroughly mix it.

  33. Espen says:

    Nigel, I agree, the heat content of the oceans is more important.

  34. nigel raymond says:

    Yes,Espen; and I would also accept that the concept of
    “average temperature” is not so useless in discussing


    When one says the average temperature of the
    “bottom water” of the Oceans is 3 or 4 deg C,
    one is talking about a LOT of matter which stays
    constantly cold for a LONG time.

    Occasionally, in the history of the Earth, the WHOLE
    Ocean deep has warmed, to about 15 deg C., the most
    recent example being during the Cretaceous. Incidentally,
    scientists are looking for evidence of the 4×4-vehicle-
    users who caused this upheaval. I will certainly yield the
    argument to “global warmists”, and say they have a valid
    point – when it happens again.

  35. R James says:

    What about an indication of timing. Surely the data can be transmitted by other means (internet), which would just cause a delay of a few days?

  36. nigel raymond says:

    “I should like to buy a temperature please,” Alice
    said timidly. “How do you sell them?”
    “Fivepence farthing for one – twopence for two,”
    the Sheep replied.
    “Then two are cheaper than one?” Alice said in a
    surprised tone, taking out her purse.
    “Only you must add them together, if you buy two,”
    said the Sheep.
    “Then I’ll have one, please,” said Alice as she put
    the money down on the counter. For she thought to
    herself, “They mightn’t be at all nice, you know.”

    With apologies to Lewis Carroll.

  37. Ray says:

    Dr. Spencer, would it be possible to give us some indication of when the November UAH figures might be available? This would be very useful to those who are interested in these figures.

  38. Rob says:

    Congratulations Dr. Spencer!

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