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Emma M. A. Dodd, Christopher J. Merchant, Nick A. Rayner, and Colin P. Morice

Abstract

Time series of global and regional mean surface air temperature (SAT) anomalies are a common metric used to estimate recent climate change. Various techniques can be used to create these time series from meteorological station data. The degree of difference arising from using five different techniques, based on existing temperature anomaly dataset techniques, to estimate Arctic SAT anomalies over land and sea ice was investigated using reanalysis data as a test bed. Techniques that interpolated anomalies were found to result in smaller errors than noninterpolating techniques relative to the reanalysis reference. Kriging techniques provided the smallest errors in estimates of Arctic anomalies, and simple kriging was often the best kriging method in this study, especially over sea ice. A linear interpolation technique had, on average, root-mean-square errors (RMSEs) up to 0.55 K larger than the two kriging techniques tested. Noninterpolating techniques provided the least representative anomaly estimates. Nonetheless, they serve as useful checks for confirming whether estimates from interpolating techniques are reasonable. The interaction of meteorological station coverage with estimation techniques between 1850 and 2011 was simulated using an ensemble dataset comprising repeated individual years (1979–2011). All techniques were found to have larger RMSEs for earlier station coverages. This supports calls for increased data sharing and data rescue, especially in sparsely observed regions such as the Arctic.

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Richard W. Reynolds, Nick A. Rayner, Thomas M. Smith, Diane C. Stokes, and Wanqiu Wang

Abstract

A weekly 1° spatial resolution optimum interpolation (OI) sea surface temperature (SST) analysis has been produced at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) using both in situ and satellite data from November 1981 to the present. The weekly product has been available since 1993 and is widely used for weather and climate monitoring and forecasting. Errors in the satellite bias correction and the sea ice to SST conversion algorithm are discussed, and then an improved version of the OI analysis is developed. The changes result in a modest reduction in the satellite bias that leaves small global residual biases of roughly −0.03°C. The major improvement in the analysis occurs at high latitudes due to the new sea ice algorithm where local differences between the old and new analysis can exceed 1°C. Comparisons with other SST products are needed to determine the consistency of the OI. These comparisons show that the differences among products occur on large time- and space scales with monthly rms differences exceeding 0.5°C in some regions. These regions are primarily the mid- and high-latitude Southern Oceans and the Arctic where data are sparse, as well as high-gradient areas such as the Gulf Stream and Kuroshio where the gradients cannot be properly resolved on a 1° grid. In addition, globally averaged differences of roughly 0.05°C occur among the products on decadal scales. These differences primarily arise from the same regions where the rms differences are large. However, smaller unexplained differences also occur in other regions of the midlatitude Northern Hemisphere where in situ data should be adequate.

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Peter W. Thorne, Kate M. Willett, Rob J. Allan, Stephan Bojinski, John R. Christy, Nigel Fox, Simon Gilbert, Ian Jolliffe, John J. Kennedy, Elizabeth Kent, Albert Klein Tank, Jay Lawrimore, David E. Parker, Nick Rayner, Adrian Simmons, Lianchun Song, Peter A. Stott, and Blair Trewin

No abstract available.

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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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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, www.eustaceproject.org) 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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