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Evaluation of Temperature Differences for Paired Stations of the U.S. Climate Reference Network

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  • 1 NOAA/NESDIS, Camp Springs, Maryland
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Abstract

Adjustments to data observed at pairs of climate stations have been recommended to remove the biases introduced by differences between the stations in time of observation, temperature instrumentation, latitude, and elevation. A new network of climate stations, located in rural settings, permits comparisons of temperatures for several pairs of stations without two of the biases (time of observation and instrumentation). The daily, monthly, and annual minimum, maximum, and mean temperatures were compared for five pairs of stations included in the U.S. Climate Reference Network. Significant differences were found between the paired stations in the annual minimum, maximum, and mean temperatures for all five pairs of stations. Adjustments for latitude and elevation differences contributed to greater differences in mean annual temperature for four of the five stations. Lapse rates computed from the mean annual temperature differences between station pairs differed from a constant value, whether or not latitude adjustments were made to the data. The results suggest that microclimate influences on temperatures observed at nearby (horizontally and vertically) stations are potentially much greater than influences that might be due to latitude or elevation differences between the stations.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Kevin P. Gallo, USGS National Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Data Center, 47914 252nd Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57198. Email: kgallo@usgs.gov

Abstract

Adjustments to data observed at pairs of climate stations have been recommended to remove the biases introduced by differences between the stations in time of observation, temperature instrumentation, latitude, and elevation. A new network of climate stations, located in rural settings, permits comparisons of temperatures for several pairs of stations without two of the biases (time of observation and instrumentation). The daily, monthly, and annual minimum, maximum, and mean temperatures were compared for five pairs of stations included in the U.S. Climate Reference Network. Significant differences were found between the paired stations in the annual minimum, maximum, and mean temperatures for all five pairs of stations. Adjustments for latitude and elevation differences contributed to greater differences in mean annual temperature for four of the five stations. Lapse rates computed from the mean annual temperature differences between station pairs differed from a constant value, whether or not latitude adjustments were made to the data. The results suggest that microclimate influences on temperatures observed at nearby (horizontally and vertically) stations are potentially much greater than influences that might be due to latitude or elevation differences between the stations.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Kevin P. Gallo, USGS National Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Data Center, 47914 252nd Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57198. Email: kgallo@usgs.gov

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