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Imke Durre
,
Matthew J. Menne
,
Byron E. Gleason
,
Tamara G. Houston
, and
Russell S. Vose

Abstract

This paper describes a comprehensive set of fully automated quality assurance (QA) procedures for observations of daily surface temperature, precipitation, snowfall, and snow depth. The QA procedures are being applied operationally to the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN)-Daily dataset. Since these data are used for analyzing and monitoring variations in extremes, the QA system is designed to detect as many errors as possible while maintaining a low probability of falsely identifying true meteorological events as erroneous. The system consists of 19 carefully evaluated tests that detect duplicate data, climatological outliers, and various inconsistencies (internal, temporal, and spatial). Manual review of random samples of the values flagged as errors is used to set the threshold for each procedure such that its false-positive rate, or fraction of valid values identified as errors, is minimized. In addition, the tests are arranged in a deliberate sequence in which the performance of the later checks is enhanced by the error detection capabilities of the earlier tests. Based on an assessment of each individual check and a final evaluation for each element, the system identifies 3.6 million (0.24%) of the more than 1.5 billion maximum/minimum temperature, precipitation, snowfall, and snow depth values in GHCN-Daily as errors, has a false-positive rate of 1%−2%, and is effective at detecting both the grossest errors as well as more subtle inconsistencies among elements.

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Matthew J. Menne
,
Imke Durre
,
Russell S. Vose
,
Byron E. Gleason
, and
Tamara G. Houston

Abstract

A database is described that has been designed to fulfill the need for daily climate data over global land areas. The dataset, known as Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN)-Daily, was developed for a wide variety of potential applications, including climate analysis and monitoring studies that require data at a daily time resolution (e.g., assessments of the frequency of heavy rainfall, heat wave duration, etc.). The dataset contains records from over 80 000 stations in 180 countries and territories, and its processing system produces the official archive for U.S. daily data. Variables commonly include maximum and minimum temperature, total daily precipitation, snowfall, and snow depth; however, about two-thirds of the stations report precipitation only. Quality assurance checks are routinely applied to the full dataset, but the data are not homogenized to account for artifacts associated with the various eras in reporting practice at any particular station (i.e., for changes in systematic bias).

Daily updates are provided for many of the station records in GHCN-Daily. The dataset is also regularly reconstructed, usually once per week, from its 20+ data source components, ensuring that the dataset is broadly synchronized with its growing list of constituent sources. The daily updates and weekly reprocessed versions of GHCN-Daily are assigned a unique version number, and the most recent dataset version is provided on the GHCN-Daily website for free public access. Each version of the dataset is also archived at the NOAA/National Climatic Data Center in perpetuity for future retrieval.

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Alan Basist
,
Claude Williams Jr.
,
Thomas F. Ross
,
Matthew J. Menne
,
Norman Grody
,
Ralph Ferraro
,
Samuel Shen
, and
Alfred T. C. Chang

Abstract

The frequencies flown on the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) are sensitive to liquid water near the earth's surface. These frequencies are primarily atmospheric window channels, which receive the majority of their radiation from the surface. Liquid water near the surface depresses the emissivity as a function of wavelength. The relationship between brightness temperatures at different frequencies is used to dynamically derive the amount of liquid water in each SSM/I observation at 1/3° resolution. These data are averaged at 1° resolution throughout the globe for each month during the period of 1992–97, and the 6-yr monthly means and the monthly anomalies of the wetness index are computed from this base period. To quantify the relationship between precipitation and surface wetness, these anomalies are compared with precipitation anomalies derived from the Global Precipitation Climate Program. The analysis was performed for six agricultural regions across six continents. There is generally a good correspondence between the two variables. The correlation generally increases when the wetness index is compared with precipitation anomalies accumulated over a 2-month period. These results indicate that the wetness index has a strong correspondence to the upper layer of the soil moisture in many cultivated areas of the world. The region in southeastern Australia had the best relationship, with a correlation coefficient of 0.76. The Sahel, France, and Argentina showed that the wetness index had memory of precipitation anomalies from the previous months. The memory is shorter for southeastern Australia and central China. The weakest correlations occurred over the southeastern United States, where the surface is covered by dense vegetation. The unique signal, strengths, and weaknesses of the wetness index in each of the six study regions are discussed.

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Russell S. Vose
,
Scott Applequist
,
Mike Squires
,
Imke Durre
,
Matthew J. Menne
,
Claude N. Williams Jr.
,
Chris Fenimore
,
Karin Gleason
, and
Derek Arndt

Abstract

This paper describes an improved edition of the climate division dataset for the conterminous United States (i.e., version 2). The first improvement is to the input data, which now include additional station networks, quality assurance reviews, and temperature bias adjustments. The second improvement is to the suite of climatic elements, which now includes both maximum and minimum temperatures. The third improvement is to the computational approach, which now employs climatologically aided interpolation to address topographic and network variability. Version 2 exhibits substantial differences from version 1 over the period 1895–2012. For example, divisional averages in version 2 tend to be cooler and wetter, particularly in mountainous areas of the western United States. Division-level trends in temperature and precipitation display greater spatial consistency in version 2. National-scale temperature trends in version 2 are comparable to those in the U.S. Historical Climatology Network whereas version 1 exhibits less warming as a result of historical changes in observing practices. Divisional errors in version 2 are likely less than 0.5°C for temperature and 20 mm for precipitation at the start of the record, falling rapidly thereafter. Overall, these results indicate that version 2 can supersede version 1 in both operational climate monitoring and applied climatic research.

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Boyin Huang
,
Peter W. Thorne
,
Viva F. Banzon
,
Tim Boyer
,
Gennady Chepurin
,
Jay H. Lawrimore
,
Matthew J. Menne
,
Thomas M. Smith
,
Russell S. Vose
, and
Huai-Min Zhang

Abstract

The monthly global 2° × 2° Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature (ERSST) has been revised and updated from version 4 to version 5. This update incorporates a new release of ICOADS release 3.0 (R3.0), a decade of near-surface data from Argo floats, and a new estimate of centennial sea ice from HadISST2. A number of choices in aspects of quality control, bias adjustment, and interpolation have been substantively revised. The resulting ERSST estimates have more realistic spatiotemporal variations, better representation of high-latitude SSTs, and ship SST biases are now calculated relative to more accurate buoy measurements, while the global long-term trend remains about the same. Progressive experiments have been undertaken to highlight the effects of each change in data source and analysis technique upon the final product. The reconstructed SST is systematically decreased by 0.077°C, as the reference data source is switched from ship SST in ERSSTv4 to modern buoy SST in ERSSTv5. Furthermore, high-latitude SSTs are decreased by 0.1°–0.2°C by using sea ice concentration from HadISST2 over HadISST1. Changes arising from remaining innovations are mostly important at small space and time scales, primarily having an impact where and when input observations are sparse. Cross validations and verifications with independent modern observations show that the updates incorporated in ERSSTv5 have improved the representation of spatial variability over the global oceans, the magnitude of El Niño and La Niña events, and the decadal nature of SST changes over 1930s–40s when observation instruments changed rapidly. Both long- (1900–2015) and short-term (2000–15) SST trends in ERSSTv5 remain significant as in ERSSTv4.

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Boyin Huang
,
Matthew J. Menne
,
Tim Boyer
,
Eric Freeman
,
Byron E. Gleason
,
Jay H. Lawrimore
,
Chunying Liu
,
J. Jared Rennie
,
Carl J. Schreck III
,
Fengying Sun
,
Russell Vose
,
Claude N. Williams
,
Xungang Yin
, and
Huai-Min Zhang

Abstract

This analysis estimates uncertainty in the NOAA global surface temperature (GST) version 5 (NOAAGlobalTemp v5) product, which consists of sea surface temperature (SST) from the Extended Reconstructed SST version 5 (ERSSTv5) and land surface air temperature (LSAT) from the Global Historical Climatology Network monthly version 4 (GHCNm v4). Total uncertainty in SST and LSAT consists of parametric and reconstruction uncertainties. The parametric uncertainty represents the dependence of SST/LSAT reconstructions on selecting 28 (6) internal parameters of SST (LSAT), and is estimated by a 1000-member ensemble from 1854 to 2016. The reconstruction uncertainty represents the residual error of using a limited number of 140 (65) modes for SST (LSAT). Uncertainty is quantified at the global scale as well as the local grid scale. Uncertainties in SST and LSAT at the local grid scale are larger in the earlier period (1880s–1910s) and during the two world wars due to sparse observations, then decrease in the modern period (1950s–2010s) due to increased data coverage. Uncertainties in SST and LSAT at the global scale are much smaller than those at the local grid scale due to error cancellations by averaging. Uncertainties are smaller in SST than in LSAT due to smaller SST variabilities. Comparisons show that GST and its uncertainty in NOAAGlobalTemp v5 are comparable to those in other internationally recognized GST products. The differences between NOAAGlobalTemp v5 and other GST products are within their uncertainties at the 95% confidence level.

Open access
Russell S. Vose
,
Derek Arndt
,
Viva F. Banzon
,
David R. Easterling
,
Byron Gleason
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Boyin Huang
,
Ed Kearns
,
Jay H. Lawrimore
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Matthew J. Menne
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Thomas C. Peterson
,
Richard W. Reynolds
,
Thomas M. Smith
,
Claude N. Williams Jr.
, and
David B. Wuertz

This paper describes the new release of the Merged Land–Ocean Surface Temperature analysis (MLOST version 3.5), which is used in operational monitoring and climate assessment activities by the NOAA National Climatic Data Center. The primary motivation for the latest version is the inclusion of a new land dataset that has several major improvements, including a more elaborate approach for addressing changes in station location, instrumentation, and siting conditions. The new version is broadly consistent with previous global analyses, exhibiting a trend of 0.076°C decade−1 since 1901, 0.162°C decade−1 since 1979, and widespread warming in both time periods. In general, the new release exhibits only modest differences with its predecessor, the most obvious being very slightly more warming at the global scale (0.004°C decade−1 since 1901) and slightly different trend patterns over the terrestrial surface.

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