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Systematic Differences in Bucket Sea Surface Temperature Measurements among Nations Identified Using a Linear-Mixed-Effect Method

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  • 1 Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
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Abstract

The International Comprehensive Ocean–Atmosphere Dataset (ICOADS) is a cornerstone for estimating changes in sea surface temperatures (SST) over the instrumental era. Interest in determining SST changes to within 0.1°C makes detecting systematic offsets within ICOADS important. Previous studies have corrected for offsets among engine room intake, buoy, and wooden and canvas bucket measurements, as well as noted discrepancies among various other groupings of data. In this study, a systematic examination of differences in collocated bucket SST measurements from ICOADS3.0 is undertaken using a linear-mixed-effect model according to nations and more-resolved groupings. Six nations and a grouping for which nation metadata are missing, referred to as “deck 156,” together contribute 91% of all bucket measurements and have systematic offsets among one another of as much as 0.22°C. Measurements from the Netherlands and deck 156 are colder than the global average by −0.10° and −0.13°C, respectively, both at p < 0.01, whereas Russian measurements are offset warm by 0.10°C at p < 0.1. Furthermore, of the 31 nations whose measurements are present in more than one grouping of data (i.e., deck), 14 contain decks that show significant offsets at p < 0.1, including all major collecting nations. Results are found to be robust to assumptions regarding the independence and distribution of errors as well as to influences from the diurnal cycle and spatially heterogeneous noise variance. Correction for systematic offsets among these groupings should improve the accuracy of estimated SSTs and their trends.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0562.s1.

© 2019 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Duo Chan, duochan@g.harvard.edu

Abstract

The International Comprehensive Ocean–Atmosphere Dataset (ICOADS) is a cornerstone for estimating changes in sea surface temperatures (SST) over the instrumental era. Interest in determining SST changes to within 0.1°C makes detecting systematic offsets within ICOADS important. Previous studies have corrected for offsets among engine room intake, buoy, and wooden and canvas bucket measurements, as well as noted discrepancies among various other groupings of data. In this study, a systematic examination of differences in collocated bucket SST measurements from ICOADS3.0 is undertaken using a linear-mixed-effect model according to nations and more-resolved groupings. Six nations and a grouping for which nation metadata are missing, referred to as “deck 156,” together contribute 91% of all bucket measurements and have systematic offsets among one another of as much as 0.22°C. Measurements from the Netherlands and deck 156 are colder than the global average by −0.10° and −0.13°C, respectively, both at p < 0.01, whereas Russian measurements are offset warm by 0.10°C at p < 0.1. Furthermore, of the 31 nations whose measurements are present in more than one grouping of data (i.e., deck), 14 contain decks that show significant offsets at p < 0.1, including all major collecting nations. Results are found to be robust to assumptions regarding the independence and distribution of errors as well as to influences from the diurnal cycle and spatially heterogeneous noise variance. Correction for systematic offsets among these groupings should improve the accuracy of estimated SSTs and their trends.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0562.s1.

© 2019 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Duo Chan, duochan@g.harvard.edu

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