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T. J. Ansell, P. D. Jones, R. J. Allan, D. Lister, D. E. Parker, M. Brunet, A. Moberg, J. Jacobeit, P. Brohan, N. A. Rayner, E. Aguilar, H. Alexandersson, M. Barriendos, T. Brandsma, N. J. Cox, P. M. Della-Marta, A. Drebs, D. Founda, F. Gerstengarbe, K. Hickey, T. Jónsson, J. Luterbacher, Ø. Nordli, H. Oesterle, M. Petrakis, A. Philipp, M. J. Rodwell, O. Saladie, J. Sigro, V. Slonosky, L. Srnec, V. Swail, A. M. García-Suárez, H. Tuomenvirta, X. Wang, H. Wanner, P. Werner, D. Wheeler, and E. Xoplaki

Abstract

The development of a daily historical European–North Atlantic mean sea level pressure dataset (EMSLP) for 1850–2003 on a 5° latitude by longitude grid is described. This product was produced using 86 continental and island stations distributed over the region 25°–70°N, 70°W–50°E blended with marine data from the International Comprehensive Ocean–Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS). The EMSLP fields for 1850–80 are based purely on the land station data and ship observations. From 1881, the blended land and marine fields are combined with already available daily Northern Hemisphere fields. Complete coverage is obtained by employing reduced space optimal interpolation. Squared correlations (r2) indicate that EMSLP generally captures 80%–90% of daily variability represented in an existing historical mean sea level pressure product and over 90% in modern 40-yr European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Re-Analyses (ERA-40) over most of the region. A lack of sufficient observations over Greenland and the Middle East, however, has resulted in poorer reconstructions there. Error estimates, produced as part of the reconstruction technique, flag these as regions of low confidence. It is shown that the EMSLP daily fields and associated error estimates provide a unique opportunity to examine the circulation patterns associated with extreme events across the European–North Atlantic region, such as the 2003 heat wave, in the context of historical events.

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