The year 2008 was the coolest year since 2000, according to the analysis made by NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), but it was still in the top ten warmest years since 1880. However, given the range of uncertainty in the temperature measurements, 2008 stands somewhere between the seventh and the tenth warmest year on record.

Compared to the baseline period 1951-80, large areas of central and eastern Pacific Ocean were cooler, and temperatures in the United States were not much different. Eastern Europe, Russia, the Arctic, and the Antarctic Peninsula were however comparatively warmer.

The relative coolness of 2008 is being attributed to a persistent La Niña, a delay in the start of the next sunspot cycle, and volcanic eruptions in the Aleutian Islands.