RSS satellite temperature update consolidates with UAH

Posted: March 8, 2016 by tallbloke in Dataset, Measurement, modelling, Natural Variation, solar system dynamics

There’s been a lot of loud rhetoric flying around about the update to the RSS satellite temperature series. What it actually amounts to is a consolidation of the satellite temperature measurement effort.


The two time series are now in good agreement and exhibit a warming rate of 0.13K/decade during the 1980-2015 period.


This is well below the warming predicted by IPCC climate models such as CMIP, and in line with historical warming rates during the positive phases of oceanic oscillations.


It’s also in line with radiosonde balloon measurements, and this demonstrates that the majority of temperature measurements are in approximate agreement. The outlier is the NASA GISS thermometer network which homogenises adjusted data across broad swathes of the globe, particularly in Africa and the Arctic.


So let’s congratulate the RSS team on a successful update and move on to more interesting matters.

  1. christian says:


    1) You looking at the old RSS 3.3, new RSS in TLT isnt update yet. I do make a own version of it, if you wish to see how RSS (Up to Februar 2016) could be in TLT look here:

    2) You cant compare Models with RSS/UAH and Radiosonde this way, because TMT-Products are influenced by stratospheric cooling, if you not belive me, do belive Roy Spencer:, so if you wish to compare, you have to use CMIP5 in Troposhere-Layer up into the Stratospere, not just only on Surface, if you make this, its looking like this:

    3) GISS is not the Outlier, because its only Surface, not a Product like Satdata, which includings stratosphere cooling

  2. Jaime says:

    I think RSS v.4.0 does now substantially diverge from UAH v.6.0.

    Globally, UAH TMT trend = 0.072K/decade; RSS = 0.130K/decade
    In the tropics, UAH trend = 0.065K/decade; RSS = 0.137K/decade

    So globally the trend for the latest RSS version is now nearly twice that of UAH, whereas in the tropical mid troposphere, the new RSS trend is now more than twice that which UAH v.6.0 registers.
    Quite a difference!

  3. Scute says:

    Which UAH is this? This tweet shows UAH version 6 beta 5. 0.83 C anomaly, higher than 1998. Huge difference. Any ideas?

  4. Don’t forget, the new RSS dataset is for the mid-troposphere, Rog.

    They have not yet got around to adjusting the TLT stuff.

  5. oldbrew says:

    Dr Roy Spencer’s version of the story:
    ‘it is actually their inclusion of what the evidence will suggest is a spurious warming (calibration drift) in the NOAA-14 MSU instrument that leads to most (maybe 2/3) of the change.’

    RS: Here are the reasons why we believe we can blame the calibration drift on the NOAA-14 MSU instrument, and why we remove that spurious warming from the NOAA-14 data in our v6 LT and MT products:

    1) the old MSU instruments’ calibration did not have near the sophistication of the newer AMSU instruments (NASA AMSU design engineer Jim Shiue once told me the AMSUs had “Cadillac”-quality calibration)

    2) the NOAA-14 satellite orbit was drifting far beyond any of the other dozen satellites in the record, leading to warming of the instrument itself (which is why we cut the record short after 6 yrs, RSS uses all 10 years), while the NOAA-15 satellite had very little orbital drift during its overlap with NOAA-14.

    We find it curious (to say the least) that RSS would treat these two satellites as equally accurate.

  6. christian says:


    They didnt, RSS has shown that what Spencer is saying is not rigth:

    “1. we assume NOAA-14 is wrong and remove it to the extent possible* This leads to a decrease of 0.019K/decade
    2. we assume NOAA-15 is wrong, and remove it to the extent possible. This leads to an increase of 0.010 K/decade
    3. we assume that the error is shared between them, and we keep all the data.”

    And they do 3. and this is understandable and if they do correcting for NOAA-14, the TMT-Trend would even be much larger then UAH .

  7. oldbrew says:

    Spencer’s update:

    ‘Update (4 March 12:35 p.m.)

    Chip Knappenberger has pointed out that, while the warming in RSS v4 versus UAH v6 might be as described above, when RSS v4 is compared to RSS v3.3, the increase in warming might be mostly due to their new diurnal cycle adjustment. In other words, the NOAA-14 calibration issue was also in their v3.3, but maybe it was obscured more by diurnal drift adjustment issues.’

    Doesn’t do a lot for confidence in satellite data really.

  8. Jaime says:

    OB: “Doesn’t do a lot for confidence in satellite data really.”

    No, it doesn’t and confidence in the surface datasets has been eroded even more than the satellite records with their unending adjustments, to the past and to the present. Climate scientists are basically unable to:

    1. Demonstrate a rate of warming in the real world that is anywhere near what their model projections say it should be.
    2. Provide accurate, stable, consistent records of average global temperature as the benchmark against which to compare their models.

    I think it’s high time to give up on this over-reliance upon a hypothetical mean global temperature as a measure of climate change, whether man-made or natural.

  9. erl happ says:

    Jaime says : I think it’s high time to give up on this over-reliance upon a hypothetical mean global temperature as a measure of climate change, whether man-made or natural.

    It never made sense anyway. Warming in the Antarctic and the Arctic winter adds to the global mean. Cant live there because its too cold. Forensically, where exactly is warming a problem?

    Warming in autumn and spring across the mid latitudes of the northern hemisphere adds to the length of the growing season and shortens harsh winters.

    The focus on a global mean is plain stupid.

  10. Ned Nikolov says:

    The lower-troposphere RSS record is yet to be adjusted! I have communicated with Carl Mears about this. He confirmed that, so far, they have only corrected the mid-troposphere temperature series and that the lower-troposphere temperature trend is likely to increase as well, but he did not know by how much at the moment… I suspect that, after all corrections are done, the RSS series will significantly differ in terms of the overall temperature trend from the UAH record. The RSS record will likely become similar to the latest HadCRU4 and the NOAA NCDC surface temperature records (as modified by Karl et al. 2015)…

    Looking at the big picture one is left with a burning question: How come most recent adjustments have resulted in ever increasing (warming) temperature trends? The only adjustment that led to a reduction of temperature trends, was Roy Spencer’s migration from UAH 5.6 to 6.0… It’s difficult to conceive that data sets based on different observations have all had similar ‘cold’ biases and had to be adjusted to the warmer side… Also, looking at the magnitude of adjustments applied to the time series of both the surface- and RSS satellite observations, one notices that the largest (positive) corrections occur after 1998, i.e. over the period associated until recently with the so-called ‘warming pause’…

    Another interesting observation: Numerous studies have been published over the past 6 years devoted to finding the ‘missing heat’ and the cause for the ‘hiatus’. Well over a dozen hypotheses have been put forward to explain the growing discrepancy between climate-model projections and observed temperature trends over the past 17 years. And right when there seemed to be no emerging consensus and no clear understanding as to why models overestimated the warming, a new idea appeared on the stage of climate science – the notion that all temperature records were somehow wrong and that the ‘warming pause’ was nothing more than a statistical artifact, an illusion caused by ‘flawed data processing’. A good example of this new line of thinking is this 2015 paper:

    Rajaratnam et al. (2015) Debunking the climate hiatus. Climatic Change, 133:129–140

    In other words, all these research teams, who spent intellectual efforts and millions of Dollars to investigate the physical causes for the ‘pause’ have basically wasted their time with a ‘non-existing’ issue … I find this solution too convenient and unsettling … 🙂

  11. oldbrew says:

    Whichever way they cut it the ‘projections’ of climate models are still turning out to be embarrassingly wrong.

  12. ren says:

    Erl happ

  13. Climatism says:

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Nice one Rog. Thanks for clarifying that one and highlighting the continuing divergence between UN IPCC models and GISS (aka UHI) versus Satellite temps (UAH, RSS)

  14. In the ‘Warming Predictions vs. the real world’ graph, the two dips in the model red line were added ‘manually’. As it would be unreasonable to expect models to ‘predict’ large volcanic eruptions (with the consequent coolings due to dust in the high atmosphere), these are added to the models. In this case the two dips represent El Chichon in 1982 and Pinotubo in 1991. Take those dips out and the models are simply running the hypothesis that ‘increase in CO2’ is proportional to ‘increase in projected temperature’.

  15. tchannon says:

    Tim writes,
    Frustrating times. I’m managing to write this whilst undergoing a chemotherapy session, comms via 4G, works. Roger has helped immensely.
    The good news, cancer has not so far spread, after invasive and remote senses tests, operable. Pre-op tests late May this year. Prognonis 40% Apparently I am very lucky.

    I am very frustrated, so much I want to write, content I want to add. “May feel tired” == sleeping sick ness, so sleepy.

    Data logging continues or at least emails get sent from the slave. For RSS UAH, obviously I need to update the work I was doing. See what changed.

    As I see it the major issue with all satellite based data shares with ground based, the massive elephant of data sampling vioation, is doing a tap dance, ground shakes, no-one notices, or at least all those who received a classic education. Sorry, this stuff was not covered in school, you have to do it yourself. .

  16. oldbrew says:

    Let’s hope your luck holds Tim.

    Let’s not forget this:
    ‘Making sense of the early-2000s warming slowdown’

    Abstract: ‘It has been claimed that the early-2000s global warming slowdown or hiatus, characterized by a reduced rate of global surface warming, has been overstated, lacks sound scientific basis, or is unsupported by observations. The evidence presented here contradicts these claims.’

    Authors include Michael Mann, not noted for favouring ‘anti-warmist’ ideas let’s say.

  17. ren says:

    Europeans are in shock because of the temperature drop in March. El Niño stops working.

  18. ren says:

    Europeans will be in shock because of the temperature drop in March. El Niño stops working.,70.76,455

  19. tchannon says:

    So do I oldbrew. You have helped me, probably without realising how much. Thanks.

    The Nature response is technically erroneous. Explaining this without talking down seems more than a hard task. If there were say 24 concurrent satellites sensing 24 hours a day including nightside, witj polar view, then some kind of valid figures can be produced. Applies to surface data too.
    Even that oversimplifies.

  20. michael hart says:

    My best regards too, TC.

  21. craigm350 says:

    All the best Tim.

  22. ren says:

    Let’s see waves in the stratosphere and strong temperature jumps.