Comparison of trends and low-frequency variability in CRU, ERA-40, and NCEP/NCAR analyses of surface air temperature

Simmons, A. J., Jones, P. D. ORCID:, da Costa Bechtold, V., Belijaars, A. C. M., Kållberg, P. W., Saarinen, S., Uppala, S. M., Viterbo, P. and Wedi, N. (2004) Comparison of trends and low-frequency variability in CRU, ERA-40, and NCEP/NCAR analyses of surface air temperature. Journal of Geophysical Research, 109 (D24). ISSN 0148-0227

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Anomalies in monthly mean surface air temperature from the 45-Year European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis (ERA-40) and the first National Centers for Environmental Prediction/ National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR) reanalysis are compared with corresponding values from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) CRUTEM2v data set derived directly from monthly station data. There is mostly very similar short-term variability, especially between ERA-40 and CRUTEM2v. Linear trends are significantly lower for the two reanalyses when computed over the full period studied, 1958-2001, but ERA-40 trends are within 10% of CRUTEM2v values for the Northern Hemisphere when computed from 1979 onward. Gaps in the availability of synoptic surface data contribute to relatively poor performance of ERA-40 prior to 1967. A few highly suspect values in each of the data sets have also been identified. ERA-40's use of screen-level observations contributes to the agreement between the ERA-40 and CRUTEM2v analyses, but the quality of the overall observing system and general character of the ERA-40 data assimilation system are also contributing factors. Temperatures from ERA-40 vary coherently throughout the boundary layer from the late 1970s onward, in general, and earlier for some regions. There is a cold bias in early years at 500 hPa over the data-sparse southern extratropics and at the surface over Antarctica. One indicator of this comes from comparing the ERA-40 analyses with results from a simulation of the atmosphere for the ERA-40 period produced using the same model and same distributions of sea surface temperature and sea ice as used in the ERA-40 data assimilation. The simulation itself reproduces quite well the warming trend over land seen in CRUTEM2v and captures some of the low-frequency variability.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Rosie Cullington
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2011 13:09
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 02:47
DOI: 10.1029/2004JD005306

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