Varied Diagnosis of the Observed Surface Temperature Trends in the Southeast United States

V. Misra Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science, Center for Ocean–Atmospheric Prediction Studies, and Florida Climate Institute, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

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J.-P. Michael Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science, and Center for Ocean–Atmospheric Prediction Studies, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

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Abstract

This paper diagnoses the temperature trends in maximum (Tmax) and minimum temperatures (Tmin) over a selection of 65 stations spread over the southeast United States (SEUS) from three observed datasets. They are the Cooperative Observer network program (COOP), the COOP data corrected for documented shifts in time of observation (COOP1), and the COOP data additionally corrected for documented changes in instrumentation (COOP2). These 65 stations have been isolated for having the three observed datasets for the same time period from 1948 to 2009. The authors’ comparisons suggest that COOP2 displays stronger warming (cooling) trends in Tmax (Tmin) compared with COOP1 in all four seasons. This is consistent with the expectation from the bias correction applied for the instrument change. In comparison, the differences between COOP and COOP2 are relatively larger. In the spring, summer, and fall seasons, the median Tmax trend is warming in COOP2 while it is cooling in COOP. In the winter season, the median trends of Tmax in the two datasets are positive, but their magnitudes are substantially different. Similarly, in the winter, summer, and fall seasons, the warming trend in Tmin in COOP is contrary to the cooling trend in COOP2. In the spring season, the median trend in Tmin is comparable between the two datasets. COOP2 shows the relationship of trends in Tmin, with the extent of urbanization in these 65 stations, to be statistically significant and to be consistent with expectations from theory in contrast to the COOP data.

Corresponding author address: Vasubandhu Misra, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, The Florida State University, 1017 Academic Way, 404 Love Building, Tallahassee, FL 32312. E-mail: vmisra@fsu.edu

Abstract

This paper diagnoses the temperature trends in maximum (Tmax) and minimum temperatures (Tmin) over a selection of 65 stations spread over the southeast United States (SEUS) from three observed datasets. They are the Cooperative Observer network program (COOP), the COOP data corrected for documented shifts in time of observation (COOP1), and the COOP data additionally corrected for documented changes in instrumentation (COOP2). These 65 stations have been isolated for having the three observed datasets for the same time period from 1948 to 2009. The authors’ comparisons suggest that COOP2 displays stronger warming (cooling) trends in Tmax (Tmin) compared with COOP1 in all four seasons. This is consistent with the expectation from the bias correction applied for the instrument change. In comparison, the differences between COOP and COOP2 are relatively larger. In the spring, summer, and fall seasons, the median Tmax trend is warming in COOP2 while it is cooling in COOP. In the winter season, the median trends of Tmax in the two datasets are positive, but their magnitudes are substantially different. Similarly, in the winter, summer, and fall seasons, the warming trend in Tmin in COOP is contrary to the cooling trend in COOP2. In the spring season, the median trend in Tmin is comparable between the two datasets. COOP2 shows the relationship of trends in Tmin, with the extent of urbanization in these 65 stations, to be statistically significant and to be consistent with expectations from theory in contrast to the COOP data.

Corresponding author address: Vasubandhu Misra, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, The Florida State University, 1017 Academic Way, 404 Love Building, Tallahassee, FL 32312. E-mail: vmisra@fsu.edu
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