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Eric Gilleland, Johan Lindström, and Finn Lindgren


Image warping for spatial forecast verification is applied to the test cases employed by the Spatial Forecast Verification Intercomparison Project (ICP), which includes both real and contrived cases. A larger set of cases is also used to investigate aggregating results for summarizing forecast performance over a long record of forecasts. The technique handles the geometric and perturbed cases with nearly exact precision, as would be expected. A statistic, dubbed here the IWS for image warp statistic, is proposed for ranking multiple forecasts and tested on the perturbed cases. IWS rankings for perturbed and real test cases are found to be sensible and physically interpretable. A powerful result of this study is that the image warp can be employed using a relatively sparse, preset regular grid without having to first identify features.

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Elizabeth C. Kent, John J. Kennedy, Thomas M. Smith, Shoji Hirahara, Boyin Huang, Alexey Kaplan, David E. Parker, Christopher P. Atkinson, David I. Berry, Giulia Carella, Yoshikazu Fukuda, Masayoshi Ishii, Philip D. Jones, Finn Lindgren, Christopher J. Merchant, Simone Morak-Bozzo, Nick A. Rayner, Victor Venema, Souichiro Yasui, and Huai-Min Zhang


Global surface temperature changes are a fundamental expression of climate change. Recent, much-debated variations in the observed rate of surface temperature change have highlighted the importance of uncertainty in adjustments applied to sea surface temperature (SST) measurements. These adjustments are applied to compensate for systematic biases and changes in observing protocol. Better quantification of the adjustments and their uncertainties would increase confidence in estimated surface temperature change and provide higher-quality gridded SST fields for use in many applications.

Bias adjustments have been based on either physical models of the observing processes or the assumption of an unchanging relationship between SST and a reference dataset, such as night marine air temperature. These approaches produce similar estimates of SST bias on the largest space and time scales, but regional differences can exceed the estimated uncertainty. We describe challenges to improving our understanding of SST biases. Overcoming these will require clarification of past observational methods, improved modeling of biases associated with each observing method, and the development of statistical bias estimates that are less sensitive to the absence of metadata regarding the observing method.

New approaches are required that embed bias models, specific to each type of observation, within a robust statistical framework. Mobile platforms and rapid changes in observation type require biases to be assessed for individual historic and present-day platforms (i.e., ships or buoys) or groups of platforms. Lack of observational metadata and high-quality observations for validation and bias model development are likely to remain major challenges.

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Nick A. Rayner, Renate Auchmann, Janette Bessembinder, Stefan Brönnimann, Yuri Brugnara, Francesco Capponi, Laura Carrea, Emma M. A. Dodd, Darren Ghent, Elizabeth Good, Jacob L. Høyer, John J. Kennedy, Elizabeth C. Kent, Rachel E. Killick, Paul van der Linden, Finn Lindgren, Kristine S. Madsen, Christopher J. Merchant, Joel R. Mitchelson, Colin P. Morice, Pia Nielsen-Englyst, Patricio F. Ortiz, John J. Remedios, Gerard van der Schrier, Antonello A. Squintu, Ag Stephens, Peter W. Thorne, Rasmus T. Tonboe, Tim Trent, Karen L. Veal, Alison M. Waterfall, Kate Winfield, Jonathan Winn, and R. Iestyn Woolway


Day-to-day variations in surface air temperature affect society in many ways, but daily surface air temperature measurements are not available everywhere. Therefore, a global daily picture cannot be achieved with measurements made in situ alone and needs to incorporate estimates from satellite retrievals. This article presents the science developed in the EU Horizon 2020–funded EUSTACE project (2015–19, to produce global and European multidecadal ensembles of daily analyses of surface air temperature complementary to those from dynamical reanalyses, integrating different ground-based and satellite-borne data types. Relationships between surface air temperature measurements and satellite-based estimates of surface skin temperature over all surfaces of Earth (land, ocean, ice, and lakes) are quantified. Information contained in the satellite retrievals then helps to estimate air temperature and create global fields in the past, using statistical models of how surface air temperature varies in a connected way from place to place; this needs efficient statistical analysis methods to cope with the considerable data volumes. Daily fields are presented as ensembles to enable propagation of uncertainties through applications. Estimated temperatures and their uncertainties are evaluated against independent measurements and other surface temperature datasets. Achievements in the EUSTACE project have also included fundamental preparatory work useful to others, for example, gathering user requirements, identifying inhomogeneities in daily surface air temperature measurement series from weather stations, carefully quantifying uncertainties in satellite skin and air temperature estimates, exploring the interaction between air temperature and lakes, developing statistical models relevant to non-Gaussian variables, and methods for efficient computation.

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