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Hemispheric and Large-Scale Surface Air Temperature Variations: An Extensive Revision and an Update to 2001

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  • 1 Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk, United Kingdom
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Abstract

This study is an extensive revision of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) land station temperature database that is used to produce a gridbox dataset of 5° latitude × 5° longitude temperature anomalies. The new database comprises 5159 station records, of which 4167 have enough data for the 1961–90 period to calculate or estimate the necessary averages. Apart from the increase in station numbers compared to the earlier study in 1994, many station records have had their data replaced by newly homogenized series that have been produced by several recent studies. New versions of all the gridded datasets currently available on the CRU Web site (http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk) have been developed. This includes combinations with marine (sea surface temperature anomalies) data over the oceans and versions with adjustment of the variance of individual gridbox series to remove the effects of changing station numbers through time.

Hemispheric and global temperature averages for land areas developed with the new dataset differ slightly from those developed in 1994. Possible reasons for the differences between the new and the earlier analysis and those from the National Climatic Data Center and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies are discussed. Differences are greatest over the Southern Hemisphere and at the beginnings and ends of each time series and relate to gridbox sizes and data availability. The rate of annual warming for global land areas over the 1901–2000 period is estimated by least squares to be 0.07°C decade−1 (significant at better than the 99.9% level). Warming is not continuous but occurs principally over two periods (about 1920–45 and since 1975). Annual temperature series for the seven continents and the Arctic all show significant warming over the twentieth century, with significant (95%) warming for 1920–44 for North America, the Arctic, Africa, and South America, and all continents except Australia and the Antarctic since 1977. Cooling is significant during the intervening period (1945–76) for North America, the Arctic, and Africa.

Corresponding author address: Prof. P. D. Jones, Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, United Kingdom. Email: P.Jones@uea.ac.uk

Abstract

This study is an extensive revision of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) land station temperature database that is used to produce a gridbox dataset of 5° latitude × 5° longitude temperature anomalies. The new database comprises 5159 station records, of which 4167 have enough data for the 1961–90 period to calculate or estimate the necessary averages. Apart from the increase in station numbers compared to the earlier study in 1994, many station records have had their data replaced by newly homogenized series that have been produced by several recent studies. New versions of all the gridded datasets currently available on the CRU Web site (http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk) have been developed. This includes combinations with marine (sea surface temperature anomalies) data over the oceans and versions with adjustment of the variance of individual gridbox series to remove the effects of changing station numbers through time.

Hemispheric and global temperature averages for land areas developed with the new dataset differ slightly from those developed in 1994. Possible reasons for the differences between the new and the earlier analysis and those from the National Climatic Data Center and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies are discussed. Differences are greatest over the Southern Hemisphere and at the beginnings and ends of each time series and relate to gridbox sizes and data availability. The rate of annual warming for global land areas over the 1901–2000 period is estimated by least squares to be 0.07°C decade−1 (significant at better than the 99.9% level). Warming is not continuous but occurs principally over two periods (about 1920–45 and since 1975). Annual temperature series for the seven continents and the Arctic all show significant warming over the twentieth century, with significant (95%) warming for 1920–44 for North America, the Arctic, Africa, and South America, and all continents except Australia and the Antarctic since 1977. Cooling is significant during the intervening period (1945–76) for North America, the Arctic, and Africa.

Corresponding author address: Prof. P. D. Jones, Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, United Kingdom. Email: P.Jones@uea.ac.uk

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