Improvements to NOAA’s Historical Merged Land–Ocean Surface Temperature Analysis (1880–2006)

Thomas M. Smith NOAA/NESDIS/STAR/SCSD, and CICS/ESSIC, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, Maryland

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Richard W. Reynolds NOAA/National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina

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Thomas C. Peterson NOAA/National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina

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Jay Lawrimore NOAA/National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina

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Abstract

Observations of sea surface and land–near-surface merged temperature anomalies are used to monitor climate variations and to evaluate climate simulations; therefore, it is important to make analyses of these data as accurate as possible. Analysis uncertainty occurs because of data errors and incomplete sampling over the historical period. This manuscript documents recent improvements in NOAA’s merged global surface temperature anomaly analysis, monthly, in spatial 5° grid boxes. These improvements allow better analysis of temperatures throughout the record, with the greatest improvements in the late nineteenth century and since 1985. Improvements in the late nineteenth century are due to improved tuning of the analysis methods. Beginning in 1985, improvements are due to the inclusion of bias-adjusted satellite data. The old analysis (version 2) was documented in 2005, and this improved analysis is called version 3.

Corresponding author address: Thomas M. Smith, NOAA/NESDIS/STAR/SCSD and CICS/ESSIC, 4114 CSS Bldg., University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, MD 20742. Email: tom.smith@noaa.gov

Abstract

Observations of sea surface and land–near-surface merged temperature anomalies are used to monitor climate variations and to evaluate climate simulations; therefore, it is important to make analyses of these data as accurate as possible. Analysis uncertainty occurs because of data errors and incomplete sampling over the historical period. This manuscript documents recent improvements in NOAA’s merged global surface temperature anomaly analysis, monthly, in spatial 5° grid boxes. These improvements allow better analysis of temperatures throughout the record, with the greatest improvements in the late nineteenth century and since 1985. Improvements in the late nineteenth century are due to improved tuning of the analysis methods. Beginning in 1985, improvements are due to the inclusion of bias-adjusted satellite data. The old analysis (version 2) was documented in 2005, and this improved analysis is called version 3.

Corresponding author address: Thomas M. Smith, NOAA/NESDIS/STAR/SCSD and CICS/ESSIC, 4114 CSS Bldg., University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, MD 20742. Email: tom.smith@noaa.gov

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