Land surface temperature (LST) plays an important role in the research of climate change and various land surface processes. Before 2000, global LST products with relatively high temporal and spatial resolutions are scarce, despite a variety of operational satellite LST products. In this study, a global 0.05∘×0.05∘ historical LST product is generated from NOAA advanced very-high-resolution radiometer (AVHRR) data (1981–2000), which includes three data layers: (1) instantaneous LST, a product generated by integrating several split-window algorithms with a random forest (RF-SWA); (2) orbital-drift-corrected (ODC) LST, a drift-corrected version of RF-SWA LST; and (3) monthly averages of ODC LST. For an assumed maximum uncertainty in emissivity and column water vapor content of 0.04 and 1.0 g cm−2, respectively, evaluated against the simulation dataset, the RF-SWA method has a mean bias error (MBE) of less than 0.10 K and a standard deviation (SD) of 1.10 K. To compensate for the influence of orbital drift on LST, the retrieved RF-SWA LST was normalized with an improved ODC method. The RF-SWA LST were validated with in situ LST from Surface Radiation Budget (SURFRAD) sites and water temperatures obtained from the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC). ... mehrAgainst the in situ LST, the RF-SWA LST has a MBE of 0.03 K with a range of −1.59–2.71 K, and SD is 1.18 K with a range of 0.84–2.76 K. Since water temperature only changes slowly, the validation of ODC LST was limited to SURFRAD sites, for which the MBE is 0.54 K with a range of −1.05 to 3.01 K and SD is 3.57 K with a range of 2.34 to 3.69 K, indicating good product accuracy. As global historical datasets, the new AVHRR LST products are useful for filling the gaps in long-term LST data. Furthermore, the new LST products can be used as input to related land surface models and environmental applications. Furthermore, in support of the scientific research community, the datasets are freely available at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3934354 for RF-SWA LST (Ma et al., 2020a), https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3936627 for ODC LST (Ma et al., 2020c), and https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3936641 for monthly averaged LST (Ma et al., 2020b).