Tech Briefs

Surface Temperature Data Analysis

Small global mean temperature changes may have significant to disastrous consequences for the Earth’s climate if they persist for an extended period. Obtaining global means from local weather reports is hampered by the uneven spatial distribution of the reliably reporting weather stations. Methods had to be developed that minimize as far as possible the impact of that situation.

This software is a method of combining temperature data of individual stations to obtain a global mean trend, overcoming/estimating the uncertainty introduced by the spatial and temporal gaps in the available data. Useful estimates were obtained by the introduction of a special grid, subdividing the Earth’s surface into 8,000 equalarea boxes, using the existing data to create virtual stations at the center of each of these boxes, and combining temperature anomalies (after assessing the radius of high correlation) rather than temperatures.

This work was done by James Hansen and Reto Ruedy of Goddard Space Flight Center. For further information, contact the Goddard Innovative Partnerships Office at (301) 286- 5810. GSC-16243-1