We present an approach to retrieve daily minimum and maximum 2-m height air temperatures from 18.7, and 23.8 GHz H and V polarized brightness temperature from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for EOS (AMSR-E) during the snow free season. The approach accounts, with minimal ancillary data, for vertically integrated atmospheric water vapor, and variable surface emissivity due to open water and vegetation. Retrieved temperatures were evaluated using Northern Hemisphere weather stations and independent satellite-based air temperatures from the Atmosphere Infrared Sounder and Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AIRS/AMSU; hereafter AIRS) sensors on Aqua. The retrieved temperatures are within 1.0 - 3.5 K of surface weather station measurements for vegetated locations, but uncertainty can exceed 4 K for desert and sparsely vegetated regions, mainly due to site to site biases. The AIRS and AMSR-E temperature retrievals generally agree more closely with one another than with weather stations and are generally within 1.0-2.8 K over vegetated regions, but with less agreement ( > 4 K ) over desert and mountainous regions. Additional useful information produced by our approach includes open water fraction, vegetation optical depth and atmospheric water vapor. The results of this study provide inputs for land surface models and a new approach for monitoring of land surface air temperatures with well quantified accuracy and precision.