Papers on global surface temperature
Posted by Ari Jokimäki on September 21, 2009
This is a list of papers on surface temperature measurements of the Earth with emphasis on global analysis. Reconstructions are not included. The list is not complete, and will most likely be updated in the future in order to make it more thorough and more representative.
UPDATE (May 8, 2012): Willett (1950), Mitchell (1961), Callendar (1961), Brinkmann (1976), and Jones et al. (1982) added.
UPDATE (April 17, 2012): Morice et al. (2012) added. Thanks to Barry for pointing it out.
UPDATE (April 5, 2010): Menne et al. (2010) and Hansen et al. (2010) added. Full text link was added to Jones et al. (1999), Folland et al. (2001).
Quantifying uncertainties in global and regional temperature change using an ensemble of observational estimates: The HadCRUT4 data set – Morice et al. (2012) “Recent developments in observational near-surface air temperature and sea-surface temperature analyses are combined to produce HadCRUT4, a new data set of global and regional temperature evolution from 1850 to the present. This includes the addition of newly digitized measurement data, both over land and sea, new sea-surface temperature bias adjustments and a more comprehensive error model for describing uncertainties in sea-surface temperature measurements. An ensemble approach has been adopted to better describe complex temporal and spatial interdependencies of measurement and bias uncertainties and to allow these correlated uncertainties to be taken into account in studies that are based upon HadCRUT4. Climate diagnostics computed from the gridded data set broadly agree with those of other global near-surface temperature analyses. Fitted linear trends in temperature anomalies are approximately 0.07°C/decade from 1901 to 2010 and 0.17°C/decade from 1979 to 2010 globally. Northern/southern hemispheric trends are 0.08/0.07°C/decade over 1901 to 2010 and 0.24/0.10°C/decade over 1979 to 2010. Linear trends in other prominent near-surface temperature analyses agree well with the range of trends computed from the HadCRUT4 ensemble members.” Morice, C. P., J. J. Kennedy, N. A. Rayner, and P. D. Jones (2012), Quantifying uncertainties in global and regional temperature change using an ensemble of observational estimates: The HadCRUT4 data set, J. Geophys. Res., 117, D08101, doi:10.1029/2011JD017187. [Full text]
Global surface temperature change – Hansen et al. (2010) “We update the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) analysis of global surface temperature change, compare alternative analyses, and address questions about perception and reality of global warming. Satellite-observed night lights are used to identify measurement stations located in extreme darkness and adjust temperature trends of urban and periurban stations for nonclimatic factors, verifying that urban effects on analyzed global change are small. Because the GISS analysis combines available sea surface temperature records with meteorological station measurements, we test alternative choices for the ocean data, showing that global temperature change is sensitive to estimated temperature change in polar regions where observations are limited. We use simple 12 month (and n × 12) running means to improve the information content in our temperature graphs. Contrary to a popular misconception, the rate of warming has not declined. Global temperature is rising as fast in the past decade as in the prior 2 decades, despite year-to-year fluctuations associated with the El Niño-La Niña cycle of tropical ocean temperature. Record high global 12 month running mean temperature for the period with instrumental data was reached in 2010.” Hansen, J., R. Ruedy, M. Sato, and K. Lo (2010), Rev. Geophys., 48, RG4004, doi:10.1029/2010RG000345. [Full text]
On the reliability of the U.S. Surface Temperature Record – Menne et al. (2010) “Recent photographic documentation of poor siting conditions at stations in the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) has led to questions regarding the reliability of surface temperature trends over the conterminous U.S. (CONUS). To evaluate the potential impact of poor siting/instrument exposure on CONUS temperatures, trends derived from poor and well-sited USHCN stations were compared. Results indicate that there is a mean bias associated with poor exposure sites relative to good exposure sites; however, this bias is consistent with previously documented changes associated with the widespread conversion to electronic sensors in the USHCN during the last 25 years. Moreover, the sign of the bias is counterintuitive to photographic documentation of poor exposure because associated instrument changes have led to an artificial negative (“cool”) bias in maximum temperatures and only a slight positive (“warm”) bias in minimum temperatures. … Adjustments applied to USHCN Version 2 data largely account for the impact of instrument and siting changes, although a small overall residual negative (“cool”) bias appears to remain in the adjusted maximum temperature series. Nevertheless, the adjusted USHCN temperatures are extremely well aligned with recent measurements from instruments whose exposure characteristics meet the highest standards for climate monitoring. In summary, we find no evidence that the CONUS temperature trends are inflated due to poor station siting.” Menne, M. J., C. N. Williams Jr., and M. A. Palecki (2010), On the reliability of the U.S. surface temperature record, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D11108, doi:10.1029/2009JD013094. [Full text]
A large discontinuity in the mid-twentieth century in observed global-mean surface temperature – Thompson et al. (2008) “Data sets used to monitor the Earth’s climate indicate that the surface of the Earth warmed from ~ 1910 to 1940, cooled slightly from ~ 1940 to 1970, and then warmed markedly from ~ 1970 onward. The weak cooling apparent in the middle part of the century has been interpreted in the context of a variety of physical factors, such as atmosphere–ocean interactions and anthropogenic emissions of sulphate aerosols. Here we call attention to a previously overlooked discontinuity in the record at 1945, which is a prominent feature of the cooling trend in the mid-twentieth century. The discontinuity is evident in published versions of the global-mean temperature time series, but stands out more clearly after the data are filtered for the effects of internal climate variability. We argue that the abrupt temperature drop of ~0.3 °C in 1945 is the apparent result of uncorrected instrumental biases in the sea surface temperature record. Corrections for the discontinuity are expected to alter the character of mid-twentieth century temperature variability but not estimates of the century-long trend in global-mean temperatures.” David W. J. Thompson, John J. Kennedy, John M. Wallace & Phil D. Jones, Nature 453, 646-649 (29 May 2008), doi:10.1038/nature06982 [Full text]
Improvements to NOAA’s Historical Merged Land–Ocean Surface Temperature Analysis (1880–2006) – Smith et al. (2008) “Observations of sea surface and land–near-surface merged temperature anomalies are used to monitor climate variations and to evaluate climate simulations; therefore, it is important to make analyses of these data as accurate as possible. Analysis uncertainty occurs because of data errors and incomplete sampling over the historical period. This manuscript documents recent improvements in NOAA’s merged global surface temperature anomaly analysis, monthly, in spatial 5° grid boxes. These improvements allow better analysis of temperatures throughout the record, with the greatest improvements in the late nineteenth century and since 1985. Improvements in the late nineteenth century are due to improved tuning of the analysis methods. Beginning in 1985, improvements are due to the inclusion of bias-adjusted satellite data. The old analysis (version 2) was documented in 2005, and this improved analysis is called version 3.” Smith, Thomas M., Richard W. Reynolds, Thomas C. Peterson, Jay Lawrimore, 2008: Improvements to NOAA’s Historical Merged Land–Ocean Surface Temperature Analysis (1880–2006). J. Climate, 21, 2283–2296. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/2007JCLI2100.1. [Full text]
Uncertainty estimates in regional and global observed temperature changes: A new data set from 1850 – Brohan et al. (2006) “The historical surface temperature data set HadCRUT provides a record of surface temperature trends and variability since 1850. A new version of this data set, HadCRUT3, has been produced, benefiting from recent improvements to the sea surface temperature data set which forms its marine component, and from improvements to the station records which provide the land data. A comprehensive set of uncertainty estimates has been derived to accompany the data: Estimates of measurement and sampling error, temperature bias effects, and the effect of limited observational coverage on large-scale averages have all been made. Since the mid twentieth century the uncertainties in global and hemispheric mean temperatures are small, and the temperature increase greatly exceeds its uncertainty. In earlier periods the uncertainties are larger, but the temperature increase over the twentieth century is still significantly larger than its uncertainty.” Brohan, P., J. J. Kennedy, I. Harris, S. F. B. Tett, and P. D. Jones (2006), Uncertainty estimates in regional and global observed temperature changes: A new data set from 1850, J. Geophys. Res., 111, D12106, doi:10.1029/2005JD006548. [Full text]
Hemispheric and Large-Scale Surface Air Temperature Variations: An Extensive Revision and an Update to 2001 – Jones & Moberg (2003) “This study is an extensive revision of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) land station temperature database that is used to produce a gridbox dataset of 5° latitude × 5° longitude temperature anomalies. The new database comprises 5159 station records, of which 4167 have enough data for the 1961–90 period to calculate or estimate the necessary averages. Apart from the increase in station numbers compared to the earlier study in 1994, many station records have had their data replaced by newly homogenized series that have been produced by several recent studies. New versions of all the gridded datasets currently available on the CRU Web site (http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk) have been developed. This includes combinations with marine (sea surface temperature anomalies) data over the oceans and versions with adjustment of the variance of individual gridbox series to remove the effects of changing station numbers through time. Hemispheric and global temperature averages for land areas developed with the new dataset differ slightly from those developed in 1994. Possible reasons for the differences between the new and the earlier analysis and those from the National Climatic Data Center and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies are discussed. Differences are greatest over the Southern Hemisphere and at the beginnings and ends of each time series and relate to gridbox sizes and data availability. The rate of annual warming for global land areas over the 1901–2000 period is estimated by least squares to be 0.07°C decade−1 (significant at better than the 99.9% level). Warming is not continuous but occurs principally over two periods (about 1920–45 and since 1975). Annual temperature series for the seven continents and the Arctic all show significant warming over the twentieth century, with significant (95%) warming for 1920–44 for North America, the Arctic, Africa, and South America, and all continents except Australia and the Antarctic since 1977. Cooling is significant during the intervening period (1945–76) for North America, the Arctic, and Africa.” Jones, P. D., A. Moberg, 2003: Hemispheric and Large-Scale Surface Air Temperature Variations: An Extensive Revision and an Update to 2001. J. Climate, 16, 206–223. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/1520-0442(2003)0162.0.CO;2 [Full text]
A closer look at United States and global surface temperature change – Hansen et al. (2001) “We compare the United States and global surface air temperature changes of the past century using the current Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) analysis and the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) record [Karl et al., 1990]. Changes in the GISS analysis subsequent to the documentation by Hansen et al.  are as follows: (1) incorporation of corrections for time-of-observation bias and station history adjustments in the United States based on Easterling et al. [1996a], (2) reclassification of rural, small-town, and urban stations in the United States, southern Canada, and northern Mexico based on satellite measurements of night light intensity [Imhoff et al., 1997], and (3) a more flexible urban adjustment than that employed by Hansen et al. , including reliance on only unlit stations in the United States and rural stations in the rest of the world for determining long-term trends. We find evidence of local human effects (“urban warming”) even in suburban and small-town surface air temperature records, but the effect is modest in magnitude and conceivably could be an artifact of inhomogeneities in the station records. We suggest further studies, including more complete satellite night light analyses, which may clarify the potential urban effect. There are inherent uncertainties in the long-term temperature change at least of the order of 0.1°C for both the U.S. mean and the global mean. Nevertheless, it is clear that the post-1930s cooling was much larger in the United States than in the global mean. The U.S. mean temperature has now reached a level comparable to that of the 1930s, while the global temperature is now far above the levels earlier in the century. The successive periods of global warming (1900–1940), cooling (1940–1965), and warming (1965–2000) in the 20th century show distinctive patterns of temperature change suggestive of roles for both climate forcings and dynamical variability. The U.S. was warm in 2000 but cooler than the warmest years in the 1930s and 1990s. Global temperature was moderately high in 2000 despite a lingering La Niña in the Pacific Ocean.” Hansen, J., R. Ruedy, M. Sato, M. Imhoff, W. Lawrence, D. Easterling, T. Peterson, and T. Karl (2001), A closer look at United States and global surface temperature change, J. Geophys. Res., 106, 23,947–23,963, doi:10.1029/2001JD000354. [Full text]
Global temperature change and its uncertainties since 1861 – Folland et al. (2001) “We present the first analysis of global and hemispheric surface warming trends that attempts to quantify the major sources of uncertainty. We calculate global and hemispheric annual temperature anomalies by combining land surface air temperature and sea surface temperature (SST) through an optimal averaging technique. The technique allows estimation of uncertainties in the annual anomalies resulting from data gaps and random errors. We add independent uncertainties due to urbanisation, changing land‐based observing practices and SST bias corrections. We test the accuracy of the SST bias corrections, which represent the largest source of uncertainty in the data, through a suite of climate model simulations. These indicate that the corrections are likely to be fairly accurate on an annual average and on large space scales. Allowing for serial correlation and annual uncertainties, the best linear fit to annual global surface temperature gives an increase of 0.61±0.16°C between 1861 and 2000.” Folland, C. K., et al. (2001), Global temperature change and its uncertainties since 1861, Geophys. Res. Lett., 28(13), 2621–2624, doi:10.1029/2001GL012877. [Full text]
GISS analysis of surface temperature change – Hansen et al. (1999) “We describe the current GISS analysis of surface temperature change for the period 1880–1999 based primarily on meteorological station measurements. The global surface temperature in 1998 was the warmest in the period of instrumental data. The rate of temperature change was higher in the past 25 years than at any previous time in the period of instrumental data. The warmth of 1998 was too large and pervasive to be fully accounted for by the recent El Nino. Despite cooling in the first half of 1999, we suggest that the mean global temperature, averaged over 2–3 years, has moved to a higher level, analogous to the increase that occurred in the late 1970s. Warming in the United States over the past 50 years has been smaller than in most of the world, and over that period there was a slight cooling trend in the eastern United States and the neighboring Atlantic Ocean. The spatial and temporal patterns of the temperature change suggest that more than one mechanism was involved in this regional cooling. The cooling trend in the United States, which began after the 1930s and is associated with ocean temperature change patterns, began to reverse after 1979. We suggest that further warming in the United States to a level rivaling the 1930s is likely in the next decade, but reliable prediction requires better understanding of decadal oscillations of ocean temperature.” Hansen, J., R. Ruedy, J. Glascoe, and M. Sato (1999), GISS analysis of surface temperature change, J. Geophys. Res., 104(D24), 30,997–31,022, doi:10.1029/1999JD900835. [Full text, file size is over 15 MB]
Surface Air Temperature and its Changes Over the Past 150 Years – Jones et al. (1999) “We review the surface air temperature record of the past 150 years, considering the homogeneity of the basic data and the standard errors of estimation of the average hemispheric and global estimates. We present global fields of surface temperature change over the two 20-year periods of greatest warming this century, 1925–1944 and 1978–1997. Over these periods, global temperatures rose by 0.37° and 0.32°C, respectively. The twentieth-century warming has been accompanied by a decrease in those areas of the world affected by exceptionally cool temperatures and to a lesser extent by increases in areas affected by exceptionally warm temperatures. In recent decades there have been much greater increases in night minimum temperatures than in day maximum temperatures, so that over 1950–1993 the diurnal temperature range has decreased by 0.08°C per decade. We discuss the recent divergence of surface and satellite temperature measurements of the lower troposphere and consider the last 150 years in the context of the last millennium. We then provide a globally complete absolute surface air temperature climatology on a 1° × 1° grid. This is primarily based on data for 1961–1990. Extensive interpolation had to be undertaken over both polar regions and in a few other regions where basic data are scarce, but we believe the climatology is the most consistent and reliable of absolute surface air temperature conditions over the world. The climatology indicates that the annual average surface temperature of the world is 14.0°C (14.6°C in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) and 13.4°C for the Southern Hemisphere). The annual cycle of global mean temperatures follows that of the land-dominated NH, with a maximum in July of 15.9°C and a minimum in January of 12.2°C.” Jones, P. D., M. New, D. E. Parker, S. Martin, and I. G. Rigor (1999), Surface air temperature and its changes over the past 150 years, Rev. Geophys., 37(2), 173–199, doi:10.1029/1999RG900002. [Full text]
An Overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network Temperature Database – Peterson & Vose (1997) “The Global Historical Climatology Network version 2 temperature database was released in May 1997. This century-scale dataset consists of monthly surface observations from ~7000 stations from around the world. This archive breaks considerable new ground in the field of global climate databases. The enhancements include 1) data for additional stations to improve regional-scale analyses, particularly in previously data-sparse areas; 2) the addition of maximum–minimum temperature data to provide climate information not available in mean temperature data alone; 3) detailed assessments of data quality to increase the confidence in research results; 4) rigorous and objective homogeneity adjustments to decrease the effect of nonclimatic factors on the time series; 5) detailed metadata (e.g., population, vegetation, topography) that allow more detailed analyses to be conducted; and 6) an infrastructure for updating the archive at regular intervals so that current climatic conditions can constantly be put into historical perspective. This paper describes these enhancements in detail.” Peterson, Thomas C., Russell S. Vose, 1997: An Overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network Temperature Database. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 78, 2837–2849. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/1520-0477(1997)0782.0.CO;2 [Full text]
Global Trends of Measured Surface Air Temperature – Hansen & Lebedeff (1987) “We analyze surface air temperature data from available meteorological stations with principal focus on the period 1880–1985. The temperature changes at mid- and high latitude stations separated by less than 1000 km are shown to be highly correlated; at low latitudes the correlation falls off more rapidly with distance for nearby stations. We combine the station data in a way which is designed to provide accurate long-term variations. Error estimates are based in part on studies of how accurately the actual station distributions are able to reproduce temperature change in a global data set produced by a three-dimensional general circulation model with realistic variability. We find that meaningful global temperature change can be obtained for the past century, despite the fact that the meteorological stations are confined mainly to continental and island locations. The results indicate a global warming of about 0.5°–0.7°C in the past century, with warming of similar magnitude in both hemispheres; the northern hemisphere result is similar to that found by several other investigators. A strong warming trend between 1965 and 1980 raised the global mean temperature in 1980 and 1981 to the highest level in the period of instrumental records. The warm period in recent years differs qualitatively from the earlier warm period centered about 1940; the earlier warming was focused at high northern latitudes, while the recent warming is more global. We present selected graphs and maps of the temperature change in each of the eight latitude zones. A computer tape of the derived regional and global temperature changes is available from the authors.” Hansen, J., and S. Lebedeff (1987), Global Trends of Measured Surface Air Temperature, J. Geophys. Res., 92(D11), 13,345–13,372, doi:10.1029/JD092iD11p13345. [Full text]
Variations in Surface Air Temperatures: Part 1. Northern Hemisphere, 1881–1980 – Jones et al. (1982) “We have produced, using objective techniques, a long-term series of average Northern Hemisphere temperatures based on monthly mean station data gridded on a 5° latitude by 10° longitude grid. Difficulties in the estimation of this parameter are discussed, deficiencies in the currently available data base and possible effects on the estimated average are described, and monthly mean data are presented. Long-term trends and extremes are identified in the annual and seasonal data. All seasons show similar long-term trends, but there are noticeable differences on time scales of 10 years and less. For example, for winter temperature, the early 20th century warming peaked during the 1940′s whereas the maximum in the other seasons was in the previous decade. Both the magnitude of the long-term trends and the year-to-year variability has been greatest in winter. There is evidence that the long-term cooling that characterized the 1940′s, 1950′s and 1960′s has ended. Warming began in the mid to late 1960′s in winter and spring, in the mid 1970′s in autumn and later in summer. Year-to-year variability has been particularly pronounced during the 1970′s. For example, 1972 was the coldest winter since 1918, yet 1980 and 1981 were among the five warmest winters during the last 100 years. There is, as yet, no statistical reason to associate the recent warming with atmospheric CO2 increases.” Jones, P. D., T. M. L. Wigley, P. M. Kelly, 1982: Variations in Surface Air Temperatures: Part 1. Northern Hemisphere, 1881–1980. Mon. Wea. Rev., 110, 59–70. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/1520-0493(1982)1102.0.CO;2. [Full text]
Surface temperature trend for the Northern Hemisphere-updated – Brinkmann (1976) “The surface temperature curve for the Northern Hemisphere was extended to include the years 1969 through 1973 following the same procedure used by H. C. Willett, J. M. Mitchell, Jr., and C. H. Reitan. The analysis showed a slight warming of 0.02°C between the periods 1965–1969 and 1970–1973, and a significant decrease in the number of negative temperature changes at individual stations (indicating a decrease in the total area experiencing temperature decrease).” Waltraud A.R. Brinkmann, Quaternary Research, Volume 6, Issue 3, September 1976, Pages 355–358.
Temperature fluctuations and trends over the earth – Callendar (1961) “The annual temperature deviations at over 400 meteorological stations are combined on a regional basis to give the integrated fluctuations over large areas and zones. These are shown in graphical form, and it is concluded that a solar or atmospheric dust hypothesis is necessary to explain the world-wide fluctuations of a few years duration. An important change in the relationships of the zonal fluctuations has occurred since 1920. The overall temperature trends found from the data are considered in relation to the homogeneity of recording, and also to the evidence of glacial recession in different zones. It is concluded that the rising trend, shown by the instruments during recent decades, is significant from the Arctic to about 45°S lat., but quite small in most regions below 35°N. and not yet apparent in some. It is thought that the regional and zonal distribution of recent climatic trends is incompatible with the hypothesis of increased solar heating as the cause. On the other hand, the major features of this distribution are not incompatible with the hypothesis of increased carbon dioxide radiation, if the rate of atmospheric mixing between the hemispheres is a matter of decades rather than years.” G. S. Callendar, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Volume 87, Issue 371, pages 1–12, January 1961, DOI: 10.1002/qj.49708737102.
Recent secular changes of global temperature – Mitchell (1961) No abstract, quote from the introduction: “I took advantage of this opportunity to re-analyze Willett’s basic data, after updating it, in order to compare the zonally-averaged secular trends in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and in the tropics during the past century. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the results of this re-analysis of updated global temperature data and to make a preliminary evaluation of their significance to extant quantitative theories of secular climatic change.” J. Murray Mitchell Jr., Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 95, Solar Variatoins, Climatic Change, and Related Geophysical Problems, pages 235–250, October 1961, DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1961.tb50036.x.
Temperature trends in the past century – Willett (1950) Mentioned as one of early surface temperature analyses by Hansen & Lebedeff (1987). Willett, H. C., Centenary Proceedings of the Royal Meteorological Society, 195-206, 1950.
Papers on early 2000′s “cooling”
Is the climate warming or cooling? – Easterling & Wehner (2009) “Numerous websites, blogs and articles in the media have claimed that the climate is no longer warming, and is now cooling. Here we show that periods of no trend or even cooling of the globally averaged surface air temperature are found in the last 34 years of the observed record, and in climate model simulations of the 20th and 21st century forced with increasing greenhouse gases. We show that the climate over the 21st century can and likely will produce periods of a decade or two where the globally averaged surface air temperature shows no trend or even slight cooling in the presence of longer‐term warming.” Easterling, D. R., and M. F. Wehner (2009), Is the climate warming or cooling?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L08706, doi:10.1029/2009GL037810. [Full text]
Has the world cooled since 1998? – Fawcett (2007) No abstract. “Ultimately, the correctness or otherwise of the cooling assertion is something for which the observations will in time provide the answer. On balance however, the observational evidence of the past decade is against it.” [Full text] An article based on Fawcett (2007) (link is to PDF file): Waiting for global cooling – Fawcett & Jones (2008).