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  • Author or Editor: Matthew J. Menne x
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Russell S. Vose
and
Matthew J. Menne

Abstract

A procedure is described that provides guidance in determining the number of stations required in a climate observing system deployed to capture temporal variability in the spatial mean of a climate parameter. The method entails reducing the density of an existing station network in a step-by-step fashion and quantifying subnetwork performance at each iteration. Under the assumption that the full network for the study area provides a reasonable estimate of the true spatial mean, this degradation process can be used to quantify the relationship between station density and network performance. The result is a systematic “cost–benefit” relationship that can be used in conjunction with practical constraints to determine the number of stations to deploy.

The approach is demonstrated using temperature and precipitation anomaly data from 4012 stations in the conterminous United States over the period 1971–2000. Results indicate that a U.S. climate observing system should consist of at least 25 quasi-uniformly distributed stations in order to reproduce interannual variability in temperature and precipitation because gains in the calculated performance measures begin to level off with higher station numbers. If trend detection is a high priority, then a higher density network of 135 evenly spaced stations is recommended. Through an analysis of long-term observations from the U.S. Historical Climatology Network, the 135-station solution is shown to exceed the climate monitoring goals of the U.S. Climate Reference Network.

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Matthew J. Menne
and
Claude N. Williams Jr.

Abstract

An evaluation of three hypothesis test statistics that are commonly used in the detection of undocumented changepoints is described. The goal of the evaluation was to determine whether the use of multiple tests could improve undocumented, artificial changepoint detection skill in climate series. The use of successive hypothesis testing is compared to optimal approaches, both of which are designed for situations in which multiple undocumented changepoints may be present. In addition, the importance of the form of the composite climate reference series is evaluated, particularly with regard to the impact of undocumented changepoints in the various component series that are used to calculate the composite.

In a comparison of single test changepoint detection skill, the composite reference series formulation is shown to be less important than the choice of the hypothesis test statistic, provided that the composite is calculated from the serially complete and homogeneous component series. However, each of the evaluated composite series is not equally susceptible to the presence of changepoints in its components, which may be erroneously attributed to the target series. Moreover, a reference formulation that is based on the averaging of the first-difference component series is susceptible to random walks when the composition of the component series changes through time (e.g., values are missing), and its use is, therefore, not recommended. When more than one test is required to reject the null hypothesis of no changepoint, the number of detected changepoints is reduced proportionately less than the number of false alarms in a wide variety of Monte Carlo simulations. Consequently, a consensus of hypothesis tests appears to improve undocumented changepoint detection skill, especially when reference series homogeneity is violated. A consensus of successive hypothesis tests using a semihierarchic splitting algorithm also compares favorably to optimal solutions, even when changepoints are not hierarchic.

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Matthew J. Menne
and
Claude N. Williams Jr.

Abstract

An automated homogenization algorithm based on the pairwise comparison of monthly temperature series is described. The algorithm works by forming pairwise difference series between serial monthly temperature values from a network of observing stations. Each difference series is then evaluated for undocumented shifts, and the station series responsible for such breaks is identified automatically. The algorithm also makes use of station history information, when available, to improve the identification of artificial shifts in temperature data. In addition, an evaluation is carried out to distinguish trend inhomogeneities from abrupt shifts. When the magnitude of an apparent shift attributed to a particular station can be reliably estimated, an adjustment is made for the target series. The pairwise algorithm is shown to be robust and efficient at detecting undocumented step changes under a variety of simulated scenarios with step- and trend-type inhomogeneities. Moreover, the approach is shown to yield a lower false-alarm rate for undocumented changepoint detection relative to the more common use of a reference series. Results from the algorithm are used to assess evidence for trend inhomogeneities in U.S. monthly temperature data.

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Jun Zhang
,
Wei Zheng
, and
Matthew J. Menne

Abstract

In this paper, the authors present a Bayes factor model for detecting undocumented artificial discontinuities in a network of temperature series. First, they generate multiple difference series for each station with the pairwise comparison approach. Next, they treat the detection problem as a Bayesian model selection problem and use Bayes factors to calculate the posterior probabilities of the discontinuities and estimate their locations in time and space. The model can be applied to large climate networks and realistic temperature series with missing data. The effectiveness of the model is illustrated with two realistic large-scale simulations and four sensitivity analyses. Results from applying the algorithm to observed monthly temperature data from the conterminous United States are also briefly discussed in the context of what is currently known about the nature of biases in the U.S. surface temperature record.

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Matthew J. Menne
,
Claude N. Williams
,
Byron E. Gleason
,
J. Jared Rennie
, and
Jay H. Lawrimore

Abstract

We describe a fourth version of the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN)-monthly (GHCNm) temperature dataset. Version 4 (v4) fulfills the goal of aligning GHCNm temperature values with the GHCN-daily dataset and makes use of data from previous versions of GHCNm as well as data collated under the auspices of the International Surface Temperature Initiative. GHCNm v4 has many thousands of additional stations compared to version 3 (v3) both historically and with short time-delay updates. The greater number of stations as well as the use of records with incomplete data during the base period provides for greater global coverage throughout the record compared to earlier versions. Like v3, the monthly averages are screened for random errors and homogenized to address systematic errors. New to v4, uncertainties are calculated for each station series, and regional uncertainties scale directly from the station uncertainties. Correlated errors in the station series are quantified by running the homogenization algorithm as an ensemble. Additional uncertainties associated with incomplete homogenization and use of anomalies are then incorporated into the station ensemble. Further uncertainties are quantified at the regional level, the most important of which is for incomplete spatial coverage. Overall, homogenization has a smaller impact on the v4 global trend compared to v3, though adjustments lead to much greater consistency than between the unadjusted versions. The adjusted v3 global mean therefore falls within the range of uncertainty for v4 adjusted data. Likewise, annual anomaly uncertainties for the other major independent land surface air temperature datasets overlap with GHCNm v4 uncertainties.

Open access
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.

Full access
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