Global Temperature Variation, Surface-100 mb: An Update into 1977

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  • 1 Air Resources Laboratories, ERL, NOAA, Silver Spring, Md. 20910
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Abstract

Based on a network of 63 well-spaced radiosonde stations around the world, the global temperature within the surface to 100 mb layer was lower in 1976 than in any year since commencement of the record in 1958, and the 1976 surface temperature equated the global record for the lowest temperature set in 1964; but even so the trend in global temperature since 1965 has been small compared to the 0.5°C decrease during 1960–65. Between 1958 and 1976 the surface to 100 mb temperature in north extratropics decreased by about 1°C, with the decrease twice as great in winter as in summer, and in 1976 this region was 0.2°C lower than in any previous year of record. During the northern winter of 1976–77, both temperate zones were very cold but the polar and tropical zones were quite warm, so that in the hemispheric or global average the season was not anomalous. In the Eastern Hemisphere of the northern extratropics there has been considerable surface warming during the past decade (although a cooling aloft), and this may explain the Soviet concern with warming related to carbon dioxide emissions. There has been a slight overall increase in temperature in the tropics since 1965, mostly in the Western Hemisphere, on which have been superimposed large and significant temperature variations of about a three-year period. These variations, probably related to the Southern Oscillation (and recently not so pronounced), extend in obvious fashion also into north extratropics, and should be taken into account for diagnoses and prognoses in northern latitudes. The rate of increase of carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa and the South Pole is augmented in the warm phase of the tropical oscillation, presumably because of a relation between atmospheric and oceanic temperature. There is evidence for a consistent quasi-biennial variation in temperature at all latitudes, with the temperature approximately 0.1°C higher than average about six months prior to the quasi-biennial west wind maximum at 50 mb in the tropics. The spatial and temporal variability in temperature have tended to increase over the period of record, in accord with the increase in meridional temperature gradient in both hemispheres and the indicated increase in lapse rate in the Northern Hemisphere.

Abstract

Based on a network of 63 well-spaced radiosonde stations around the world, the global temperature within the surface to 100 mb layer was lower in 1976 than in any year since commencement of the record in 1958, and the 1976 surface temperature equated the global record for the lowest temperature set in 1964; but even so the trend in global temperature since 1965 has been small compared to the 0.5°C decrease during 1960–65. Between 1958 and 1976 the surface to 100 mb temperature in north extratropics decreased by about 1°C, with the decrease twice as great in winter as in summer, and in 1976 this region was 0.2°C lower than in any previous year of record. During the northern winter of 1976–77, both temperate zones were very cold but the polar and tropical zones were quite warm, so that in the hemispheric or global average the season was not anomalous. In the Eastern Hemisphere of the northern extratropics there has been considerable surface warming during the past decade (although a cooling aloft), and this may explain the Soviet concern with warming related to carbon dioxide emissions. There has been a slight overall increase in temperature in the tropics since 1965, mostly in the Western Hemisphere, on which have been superimposed large and significant temperature variations of about a three-year period. These variations, probably related to the Southern Oscillation (and recently not so pronounced), extend in obvious fashion also into north extratropics, and should be taken into account for diagnoses and prognoses in northern latitudes. The rate of increase of carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa and the South Pole is augmented in the warm phase of the tropical oscillation, presumably because of a relation between atmospheric and oceanic temperature. There is evidence for a consistent quasi-biennial variation in temperature at all latitudes, with the temperature approximately 0.1°C higher than average about six months prior to the quasi-biennial west wind maximum at 50 mb in the tropics. The spatial and temporal variability in temperature have tended to increase over the period of record, in accord with the increase in meridional temperature gradient in both hemispheres and the indicated increase in lapse rate in the Northern Hemisphere.

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