Global Temperature Variations in the Troposphere and Stratosphere, 1958–1982

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  • 1 Air Resources Laboratories, ERL, NOAA, Rockville, MD 20852
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Abstract

A network of 63 well-distributed radiosonde stations has been used to estimate mean-annual temperature variations at the surface and for 85–30 kPa (850–300 mb), 30–10 kPa, 10–5 kPa, 10–3 kPa, and surface- 10 kPa layers for five climatic zones, both hemispheres, and the world for the interval 1958–81. At the surface and in the 85–30 kPa layer there was global cooling of about 0.5°C between 1958 and about 1970, and global warming since, with 1980 and 1981 values approximately 0.1°C warmer than observed in 1958 and 1959. However, an update using seasonal data indicates appreciable cooling again between the northern springs of 1981 and 1982. In the 30–10 kPa layer there has been slight global cooling during most of the interval 1958–81, resulting in an increase in lapse rate in the 85–30 and 30–10 kPa layers during the last decade. In the middle and high stratosphere (26–55 km), Northern Hemisphere rocketsonde data suggest a 3–5°C cooling between 1970 and 1976, but little temperature change since.

There is evidence for an 0.3°C decrease in Northern Hemisphere surface temperature following the Agung eruption in 1963, as well as at least a 1.0°C temperature increase in the low stratosphere of the tropics, but no convincing evidence that the eruptions of Fuego in 1974 or St. Helens in 1980 affected either tropospheric or stratospheric temperatures. Between 1958 and 1981, the correlation between sea-surface temperature (SST) in the equatorial eastern Pacific, and global temperature for the surface-10 kPa layer, is a significant 0.58 at a lag of two seasons, SST leading. There is some indication that, in the tropics, this lag increases slightly with distance from the equator and height in the troposphere. During the past decade there has been a close (inverse) relation between the area of the 30 kPa (300 mb) north polar vortex and 85–30 kPa temperature. During 1958–81 the departure from the mean of the seasonal 85–30 kPa temperature in north temperate latitudes averaged −0.4°C three seasons after cool SST in the equatorial eastern Pacific when the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) at 5 kPa in the tropics was in the eastwind phase, and 0.2°C three seasons after warm SST when the QBO was in the westwind phase. Inasmuch as SST has warmed through 1982, and the QBO east wind maximum at 5 kPa occurred in mid 1982, this relation would imply a relatively warm north-temperate troposphere in 1983.

Abstract

A network of 63 well-distributed radiosonde stations has been used to estimate mean-annual temperature variations at the surface and for 85–30 kPa (850–300 mb), 30–10 kPa, 10–5 kPa, 10–3 kPa, and surface- 10 kPa layers for five climatic zones, both hemispheres, and the world for the interval 1958–81. At the surface and in the 85–30 kPa layer there was global cooling of about 0.5°C between 1958 and about 1970, and global warming since, with 1980 and 1981 values approximately 0.1°C warmer than observed in 1958 and 1959. However, an update using seasonal data indicates appreciable cooling again between the northern springs of 1981 and 1982. In the 30–10 kPa layer there has been slight global cooling during most of the interval 1958–81, resulting in an increase in lapse rate in the 85–30 and 30–10 kPa layers during the last decade. In the middle and high stratosphere (26–55 km), Northern Hemisphere rocketsonde data suggest a 3–5°C cooling between 1970 and 1976, but little temperature change since.

There is evidence for an 0.3°C decrease in Northern Hemisphere surface temperature following the Agung eruption in 1963, as well as at least a 1.0°C temperature increase in the low stratosphere of the tropics, but no convincing evidence that the eruptions of Fuego in 1974 or St. Helens in 1980 affected either tropospheric or stratospheric temperatures. Between 1958 and 1981, the correlation between sea-surface temperature (SST) in the equatorial eastern Pacific, and global temperature for the surface-10 kPa layer, is a significant 0.58 at a lag of two seasons, SST leading. There is some indication that, in the tropics, this lag increases slightly with distance from the equator and height in the troposphere. During the past decade there has been a close (inverse) relation between the area of the 30 kPa (300 mb) north polar vortex and 85–30 kPa temperature. During 1958–81 the departure from the mean of the seasonal 85–30 kPa temperature in north temperate latitudes averaged −0.4°C three seasons after cool SST in the equatorial eastern Pacific when the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) at 5 kPa in the tropics was in the eastwind phase, and 0.2°C three seasons after warm SST when the QBO was in the westwind phase. Inasmuch as SST has warmed through 1982, and the QBO east wind maximum at 5 kPa occurred in mid 1982, this relation would imply a relatively warm north-temperate troposphere in 1983.

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