This research was supported through the Pan American Climate Studies (PACS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under Contract NA17RJ1228 and by the National Science Foundation under Grant ATM-0415184. Our thanks to the reviewers, their helpful comments and constructive criticism are very much appreciated. Thanks also to Drs. Anton Beljaars and Martin Koehler for their help in understanding the ERA-40 reanalysis data. John Maurer from the National Snow and Ice Data Center and Dr. Steve Palm from the GLAS science team were of invaluable help in using and understanding the GLAS data.
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