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John R. Christy and William B. Norris

Abstract

Radiosonde datasets of temperature often suffer from discontinuities due to changes in instrumentation, location, observing practices, and algorithms. To identify temporal discontinuities that affect the VIZ/Sippican family of radiosondes, the 1979–2004 time series of a composite of 31 VIZ stations are compared to composites of collocated values of layer temperatures from two microwave sounding unit datasets—the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS). Discontinuities in the radiosonde time series relative to the two satellite datasets were detected with high significance and with similar magnitudes; however, some instances occurred where only one satellite dataset differed from the radiosondes. For the products known as lower troposphere (LT; surface–300 hPa) and midtroposphere (MT; surface–75-hPa layer), significant discontinuities relative to both satellite datasets were found—two cases for LT and four for MT. These are likely associated with changes in the radiosonde system. Three apparent radiosonde discontinuities were also determined for the lower-stratospheric product (LS; 150–15 hPa). Because they cannot be definitely traced to changes in the radiosonde system, they could be the result of common errors in the satellite products. When adjustments are applied to the radiosondes based independently on each satellite dataset, 26-yr trends of UAH (RSS) are consistent with the radiosondes for LT, MT, and LS at the level of ±0.06, ±0.04, and ±0.07 (±0.12, ±0.10, and ±0.10) K decade−1. Also, simple statistical retrievals based on radiosonde-derived relationships of LT, MT, and LS indicate a higher level of consistency with UAH products than with those of RSS.

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John R. Christy and William B. Norris

Abstract

The temperature records of 28 Australian radiosonde stations were compared with the bulk-layer temperatures of three satellite products of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) for the period 1979–2006. The purpose was to use the satellite data as “reference truth” to quantify the effect of changes in station equipment, software, and operations on the reported upper air temperatures and resulting trends. The products are lower troposphere (LT), midtroposphere (MT), and lower stratosphere (LS).

Four periods of significant shifts in temperatures were found in the radiosondes relative to both satellite datasets. In the first two shifts—around 1982/83 and 1987/88—the radiosondes experienced an accumulated LT and MT warming shift of 0.5 K on average. These shifts coincided with equipment changes. If unadjusted for these shifts, the radiosondes report spurious tropospheric warming of almost 0.2 K decade−1. For LS in the first period, there is relative warming but in the second, cooling. If unadjusted, the radiosondes overstate LS cooling by about −0.15 K decade−1.

The third (early 1990s) and fourth (1998 LT and MT and 2002 LS) shifts are less robustly connected to changes in the radiosondes. Errors in the construction methodology of the satellite products likely account for at least part of the discrepancies but cannot be attributed with confidence to a specific cause. Having opposite signs in the two periods, the last two discrepancies tend to cancel each other. The net effect of these last two shifts on the overall LT and MT trends of ±0.03 K decade−1 is small.

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John R. Christy, William B. Norris, and Kevin P. Gallo
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John R. Christy, William B. Norris, and Richard T. McNider

Abstract

Surface temperatures have been observed in East Africa for more than 100 yr, but heretofore have not been subject to a rigorous climate analysis. To pursue this goal monthly averages of maximum (T Max), minimum (T Min), and mean (T Mean) temperatures were obtained for Kenya and Tanzania from several sources. After the data were organized into time series for specific sites (60 in Kenya and 58 in Tanzania), the series were adjusted for break points and merged into individual gridcell squares of 1.25°, 2.5°, and 5.0°.

Results for the most data-rich 5° cell, which includes Nairobi, Mount Kilimanjaro, and Mount Kenya, indicate that since 1905, and even recently, the trend of T Max is not significantly different from zero. However, T Min results suggest an accelerating temperature rise.

Uncertainty estimates indicate that the trend of the difference time series (T MaxT Min) is significantly less than zero for 1946–2004, the period with the highest density of observations. This trend difference continues in the most recent period (1979–2004), in contrast with findings in recent periods for global datasets, which generally have sparse coverage of East Africa.

The differences between T Max and T Min trends, especially recently, may reflect a response to complex changes in the boundary layer dynamics; T Max represents the significantly greater daytime vertical connection to the deep atmosphere, whereas T Min often represents only a shallow layer whose temperature is more dependent on the turbulent state than on the temperature aloft.

Because the turbulent state in the stable boundary layer is highly dependent on local land use and perhaps locally produced aerosols, the significant human development of the surface may be responsible for the rising T Min while having little impact on T Max in East Africa. This indicates that time series of T Max and T Min should become separate variables in the study of long-term changes.

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

Abstract

The problems inherent in the estimation of global tropospheric temperature trends from a combination of near-nadir Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) channel-2 and -4 data are described. The authors show that insufficient overlap between those two channels’ weighting functions prevents a physical removal of the stratospheric influence on tropospheric channel 2 from the stratospheric channel 4. Instead, correlations between stratospheric and tropospheric temperature fluctuations based upon ancillary (e.g., radiosonde) information can be used to statistically estimate a correction for the stratospheric influence on MSU 2 from MSU 4. Fu et al. developed such a regression relationship from radiosonde data using the 850–300-hPa layer as the target predictand. There are large errors in the resulting fit of the two MSU channels to the tropospheric target layer, so the correlations from the ancillary data must be relied upon to provide a statistical minimization of the resulting errors. Such relationships depend upon the accuracy of the particular training dataset as well as the dataset time period and its global representativeness (i.e., temporal and spatial stationarity of the statistics). It is concluded that near-nadir MSU channels 2 and 4 cannot be combined to provide a tropospheric temperature measure without substantial uncertainty resulting from a necessary dependence on ancillary information regarding the vertical profile of temperature variations, which are, in general, not well known on a global basis.

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John R. Christy, William B. Norris, Kelly Redmond, and Kevin P. Gallo

Abstract

A procedure is described to construct time series of regional surface temperatures and is then applied to interior central California stations to test the hypothesis that century-scale trend differences between irrigated and nonirrigated regions may be identified. The procedure requires documentation of every point in time at which a discontinuity in a station record may have occurred through (a) the examination of metadata forms (e.g., station moves) and (b) simple statistical tests. From this “homogeneous segments” of temperature records for each station are defined. Biases are determined for each segment relative to all others through a method employing mathematical graph theory. The debiased segments are then merged, forming a complete regional time series. Time series of daily maximum and minimum temperatures for stations in the irrigated San Joaquin Valley (Valley) and nearby nonirrigated Sierra Nevada (Sierra) were generated for 1910–2003. Results show that twentieth-century Valley minimum temperatures are warming at a highly significant rate in all seasons, being greatest in summer and fall (> +0.25°C decade−1). The Valley trend of annual mean temperatures is +0.07° ± 0.07°C decade−1. Sierra summer and fall minimum temperatures appear to be cooling, but at a less significant rate, while the trend of annual mean Sierra temperatures is an unremarkable −0.02° ± 0.10°C decade−1. A working hypothesis is that the relative positive trends in Valley minus Sierra minima (>0.4°C decade−1 for summer and fall) are related to the altered surface environment brought about by the growth of irrigated agriculture, essentially changing a high-albedo desert into a darker, moister, vegetated plain.

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Interaction Between the Atmosphere and the Oceans

Report of the Joint Panel on Air-Sea Interaction

George S. Benton, Robert G. Fleagle, Dale F. Leipper, R. B. Montgomery, Norris Rakestraw, William S. Richardson, Herbert Riehl, and James Snodgrass
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Ian M. Brooks, Margaret J. Yelland, Robert C. Upstill-Goddard, Philip D. Nightingale, Steve Archer, Eric d'Asaro, Rachael Beale, Cory Beatty, Byron Blomquist, A. Anthony Bloom, Barbara J. Brooks, John Cluderay, David Coles, John Dacey, Michael DeGrandpre, Jo Dixon, William M. Drennan, Joseph Gabriele, Laura Goldson, Nick Hardman-Mountford, Martin K. Hill, Matt Horn, Ping-Chang Hsueh, Barry Huebert, Gerrit de Leeuw, Timothy G. Leighton, Malcolm Liddicoat, Justin J. N. Lingard, Craig McNeil, James B. McQuaid, Ben I. Moat, Gerald Moore, Craig Neill, Sarah J. Norris, Simon O'Doherty, Robin W. Pascal, John Prytherch, Mike Rebozo, Erik Sahlee, Matt Salter, Ute Schuster, Ingunn Skjelvan, Hans Slagter, Michael H. Smith, Paul D. Smith, Meric Srokosz, John A. Stephens, Peter K. Taylor, Maciej Telszewski, Roisin Walsh, Brian Ward, David K. Woolf, Dickon Young, and Henk Zemmelink

As part of the U.K. contribution to the international Surface Ocean-Lower Atmosphere Study, a series of three related projects—DOGEE, SEASAW, and HiWASE—undertook experimental studies of the processes controlling the physical exchange of gases and sea spray aerosol at the sea surface. The studies share a common goal: to reduce the high degree of uncertainty in current parameterization schemes. The wide variety of measurements made during the studies, which incorporated tracer and surfactant release experiments, included direct eddy correlation fluxes, detailed wave spectra, wind history, photographic retrievals of whitecap fraction, aerosolsize spectra and composition, surfactant concentration, and bubble populations in the ocean mixed layer. Measurements were made during three cruises in the northeast Atlantic on the RRS Discovery during 2006 and 2007; a fourth campaign has been making continuous measurements on the Norwegian weather ship Polarfront since September 2006. This paper provides an overview of the three projects and some of the highlights of the measurement campaigns.

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Ian M. Brooks, Margaret J. Yelland, Robert C. Upstill-Goddard, Philip D. Nightingale, Steve Archer, Eric d'Asaro, Rachael Beale, Cory Beatty, Byron Blomquist, A. Anthony Bloom, Barbara J. Brooks, John Cluderay, David Coles, John Dacey, Michael Degrandpre, Jo Dixon, William M. Drennan, Joseph Gabriele, Laura Goldson, Nick Hardman-Mountford, Martin K. Hill, Matt Horn, Ping-Chang Hsueh, Barry Huebert, Gerrit De Leeuw, Timothy G. Leighton, Malcolm Liddicoat, Justin J. N. Lingard, Craig Mcneil, James B. Mcquaid, Ben I. Moat, Gerald Moore, Craig Neill, Sarah J. Norris, Simon O'Doherty, Robin W. Pascal, John Prytherch, Mike Rebozo, Erik Sahlee, Matt Salter, Ute Schuster, Ingunn Skjelvan, Hans Slagter, Michael H. Smith, Paul D. Smith, Meric Srokosz, John A. Stephens, Peter K. Taylor, Maciej Telszewski, Roisin Walsh, Brian Ward, David K. Woolf, Dickon Young, and Henk Zemmelink

Abstract

No Abstract available.

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