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David E. Parker

Abstract

Daily anomalies of mean central England temperature (CET), relative to daily 1961–90 climatology, are analyzed in terms of the source of the air estimated from fields of mean sea level pressure. The average CET anomaly for a given source and calendar month during 1961–90 is taken as an estimate of the influence of atmospheric circulation for that source and calendar month, and the uncertainty in this influence is provided by the associated standard error. The atmospheric circulation influences are subtracted from the daily CET anomalies since the late nineteenth century to yield “residual anomalies,” which represent the influence of forcings other than atmospheric circulation. The use of air sources captures more circulation-related daily CET variance than the airflow indices used in previous studies. The warming in central England since the 1970s is not predominantly a result of atmospheric circulation changes, and the long-term changes of CET for air from major source regions are on the whole very similar to each other and to the overall long-term changes.

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David E. Parker

Abstract

On the premise that urban heat islands are strongest in calm conditions but are largely absent in windy weather, daily minimum and maximum air temperatures for the period 1950–2000 at a worldwide selection of land stations are analyzed separately for windy and calm conditions, and the global and regional trends are compared. The trends in temperature are almost unaffected by this subsampling, indicating that urban development and other local or instrumental influences have contributed little overall to the observed warming trends. The trends of temperature averaged over the selected land stations worldwide are in close agreement with published trends based on much more complete networks, indicating that the smaller selection used here is sufficient for reliable sampling of global trends as well as interannual variations. A small tendency for windy days to have warmed more than other days in winter over Eurasia is the opposite of that expected from urbanization and is likely to be a consequence of atmospheric circulation changes.

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Kieran M. R. Hunt, Andrew G. Turner, Peter M. Inness, David E. Parker, and Richard C. Levine

Abstract

ERA-Interim reanalysis data from the past 35 years have been used with a newly developed feature tracking algorithm to identify Indian monsoon depressions originating in or near the Bay of Bengal. These were then rotated, centralized, and combined to give a fully three-dimensional 106-depression composite structure—a considerably larger sample than any previous detailed study on monsoon depressions and their structure. Many known features of depression structure are confirmed, particularly the existence of a maximum to the southwest of the center in rainfall and other fields and a westward axial tilt in others. Additionally, the depressions are found to have significant asymmetry owing to the presence of the Himalayas, a bimodal midtropospheric potential vorticity core, a separation into thermally cold (~−1.5 K) and neutral (~0 K) cores near the surface with distinct properties, and the center has very large CAPE and very small CIN. Variability as a function of background state has also been explored, with land–coast–sea, diurnal, ENSO, active–break, and Indian Ocean dipole contrasts considered. Depressions are found to be markedly stronger during the active phase of the monsoon, as well as during La Niña. Depressions on land are shown to be more intense and more tightly constrained to the central axis. A detailed schematic diagram of a vertical cross section through a composite depression is also presented, showing its inherent asymmetric structure.

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Aiguo Dai, Junhong Wang, Peter W. Thorne, David E. Parker, Leopold Haimberger, and Xiaolan L. Wang

Abstract

Radiosonde humidity records represent the only in situ observations of tropospheric water vapor content with multidecadal length and quasi-global coverage. However, their use has been hampered by ubiquitous and large discontinuities resulting from changes to instrumentation and observing practices. Here a new approach is developed to homogenize historical records of tropospheric (up to 100 hPa) dewpoint depression (DPD), the archived radiosonde humidity parameter. Two statistical tests are used to detect changepoints, which are most apparent in histograms and occurrence frequencies of the daily DPD: a variant of the Kolmogorov–Smirnov (K–S) test for changes in distributions and the penalized maximal F test (PMFred) for mean shifts in the occurrence frequency for different bins of DPD. These tests capture most of the apparent discontinuities in the daily DPD data, with an average of 8.6 changepoints (∼1 changepoint per 5 yr) in each of the analyzed radiosonde records, which begin as early as the 1950s and ended in March 2009. Before applying breakpoint adjustments, artificial sampling effects are first adjusted by estimating missing DPD reports for cold (T < −30°C) and dry (DPD artificially set to 30°C) conditions using empirical relationships at each station between the anomalies of air temperature and vapor pressure derived from recent observations when DPD reports are available under these conditions. Next, the sampling-adjusted DPD is detrended separately for each of the 4–10 quantile categories and then adjusted using a quantile-matching algorithm so that the earlier segments have histograms comparable to that of the latest segment. Neither the changepoint detection nor the adjustment uses a reference series given the stability of the DPD series.

Using this new approach, a homogenized global, twice-daily DPD dataset (available online at www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/catalog/) is created for climate and other applications based on the Integrated Global Radiosonde Archive (IGRA) and two other data sources. The adjusted-daily DPD has much smaller and spatially more coherent trends during 1973–2008 than the raw data. It implies only small changes in relative humidity in the lower and middle troposphere. When combined with homogenized radiosonde temperature, other atmospheric humidity variables can be calculated, and these exhibit spatially more coherent trends than without the DPD homogenization. The DPD adjustment yields a different pattern of change in humidity parameters compared to the apparent trends from the raw data. The adjusted estimates show an increase in tropospheric water vapor globally.

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John R. Christy, Roy W. Spencer, William B. Norris, William D. Braswell, and David E. Parker

Abstract

Deep-layer temperatures derived from satellite-borne microwave sensors since 1979 are revised (version 5.0) to account for 1) a change from microwave sounding units (MSUs) to the advanced MSUs (AMSUs) and 2) an improved diurnal drift adjustment for tropospheric products. AMSU data, beginning in 1998, show characteristics indistinguishable from the earlier MSU products. MSU–AMSU error estimates are calculated through comparisons with radiosonde-simulated bulk temperatures for the low–middle troposphere (TLT), midtroposphere (TMT), and lower stratosphere (TLS.) Monthly (annual) standard errors for global mean anomalies of TLT satellite temperatures are estimated at 0.10°C (0.07°C). The TLT (TMT) trend for January 1979 to April 2002 is estimated as +0.06° (+0.02°) ±0.05°C decade–1 (95% confidence interval). Error estimates for TLS temperatures are less well characterized due to significant heterogeneities in the radiosonde data at high altitudes, though evidence is presented to suggest that since 1979 the trend is −0.51° ± 0.10°C decade–1.

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Peter W. Thorne, David E. Parker, John R. Christy, and Carl A. Mears

Historically, meteorological observations have been made for operational forecasting rather than long-term monitoring purposes, so that there have been numerous changes in instrumentation and procedures. Hence to create climate quality datasets requires the identification, estimation, and removal of many nonclimatic biases from the historical data. Construction of a number of new tropospheric temperature climate datasets has highlighted previously unrecognized uncertainty in multidecadal temperature trends aloft. The choice of dataset can even change the sign of upper-air trends relative to those reported at the surface. So structural uncertainty introduced unintentionally through dataset construction choices is important and needs to be understood and mitigated. A number of ways that this could be addressed for historical records are discussed, as is the question of How it needs to be reduced through future coordinated observing systems with long-term monitoring as a driver, enabling explicit calculation, and removal of nonclimatic biases. Although upper-air temperature records are used to illustrate the arguments, it is strongly believed that the findings are applicable to all long-term climate datasets and variables. A full characterization of observational uncertainty is as vitally important as recent intensive efforts to understand climate model uncertainties if the goal to rigorously reduce the uncertainty regarding both past and future climate changes is to be achieved.

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GATE

final international scientific plans

International and Scientific Management Group for GATE, Joachim P. Kuettner, David E. Parker, David R. Rodenhuis, Heinrich Hoeber, Helmut Kraus, and G. Philander
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Dean Roemmich, Jeffrey T. Sherman, Russ E. Davis, Kyle Grindley, Michael McClune, Charles J. Parker, David N. Black, Nathalie Zilberman, Sarah G. Purkey, Philip J. H. Sutton, and John Gilson

Abstract

Deployment of Deep Argo regional pilot arrays is underway as a step toward a global array of 1250 surface-to-bottom profiling floats embedded in the upper-ocean (2000 m) Argo Program. Of the 80 active Deep Argo floats as of July 2019, 55 are Deep Sounding Oceanographic Lagrangian Observer (SOLO) 6000-m instruments, and the rest are composed of three additional models profiling to either 4000 or 6000 m. Early success of the Deep SOLO is owed partly to its evolution from the Core Argo SOLO-II. Here, Deep SOLO design choices are described, including the spherical glass pressure housing, the hydraulics system, and the passive bottom detection system. Operation of Deep SOLO is flexible, with the mission parameters being adjustable from shore via Iridium communications. Long lifetime is a key element in sustaining a global array, and Deep SOLO combines a long battery life of over 200 cycles to 6000 m with robust operation and a low failure rate. The scientific value of Deep SOLO is illustrated, including examples of its ability (i) to observe large-scale spatial and temporal variability in deep ocean temperature and salinity, (ii) to sample newly formed water masses year-round and within a few meters of the sea floor, and (iii) to explore the poorly known abyssal velocity field and deep circulation of the World Ocean. Deep SOLO’s full-depth range and its potential for global coverage are critical attributes for complementing the Core Argo Program and achieving these objectives.

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CREATING CLIMATE REFERENCE DATASETS

CARDS Workshop on Adjusting Radiosonde Temperature Data for Climate Monitoring

Melissa Free, Imke Durre, Enric Aguilar, Dian Seidel, Thomas C. Peterson, Robert E. Eskridge, James K. Luers, David Parker, Margaret Gordon, John Lanzante, Stephen Klein, John Christy, Steven Schroeder, Brian Soden, Larry M. McMillin, and Elizabeth Weatherhead

Homogeneous upper-air temperature time series are necessary for climate change detection and attribution. About 20 participants met at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina on 11–12 October 2000 to discuss methods of adjusting radiosonde data for inhomogeneities arising from instrument and other changes. Representatives of several research groups described their methods for identifying change points and adjusting temperature time series and compared the results of applying these methods to data from 12 radiosonde stations. The limited agreement among these results and the potential impact of these adjustments on upper-air trends estimates indicate a need for further work in this area and for greater attention to homogeneity issues in planning future changes in radiosonde observations.

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Sarah J. Doherty, Stephan Bojinski, Ann Henderson-Sellers, Kevin Noone, David Goodrich, Nathaniel L. Bindoff, John A. Church, Kathy A. Hibbard, Thomas R. Karl, Lucka Kajfez-Bogataj, Amanda H. Lynch, David E. Parker, I. Colin Prentice, Venkatachalam Ramaswamy, Roger W. Saunders, Mark Stafford Smith, Konrad Steffen, Thomas F. Stocker, Peter W. Thorne, Kevin E. Trenberth, Michel M. Verstraete, and Francis W. Zwiers

The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that global warming is “unequivocal” and that most of the observed increase since the mid-twentieth century is very likely due to the increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations, with discernible human influences on ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes, wind patterns, and other physical and biological indicators, impacting both socioeconomic and ecological systems. It is now clear that we are committed to some level of global climate change, and it is imperative that this be considered when planning future climate research and observational strategies. The Global Climate Observing System program (GCOS), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) therefore initiated a process to summarize the lessons learned through AR4 Working Groups I and II and to identify a set of high-priority modeling and observational needs. Two classes of recommendations emerged. First is the need to improve climate models, observational and climate monitoring systems, and our understanding of key processes. Second, the framework for climate research and observations must be extended to document impacts and to guide adaptation and mitigation efforts. Research and observational strategies specifically aimed at improving our ability to predict and understand impacts, adaptive capacity, and societal and ecosystem vulnerabilities will serve both purposes and are the subject of the specific recommendations made in this paper.

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