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What Do Observational Datasets Say about Modeled Tropospheric Temperature Trends since 1979?

ESSC-UAH, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Cramer Hall, Huntsville AL 35899, USA
Atmospheric Physics, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85821, USA
University of Colorado, Stadium 255-16, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rochester University, Bausch & Lomb Hall, P.O. Box 270171, 500 Wilson Blvd., Rochester, NY 14627-0171, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2010, 2(9), 2148-2169;
Received: 30 July 2010 / Revised: 3 September 2010 / Accepted: 14 September 2010 / Published: 15 September 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Climate Monitoring and Analysis)
Updated tropical lower tropospheric temperature datasets covering the period 1979–2009 are presented and assessed for accuracy based upon recent publications and several analyses conducted here. We conclude that the lower tropospheric temperature (TLT) trend over these 31 years is +0.09 ± 0.03 °C decade−1. Given that the surface temperature (Tsfc) trends from three different groups agree extremely closely among themselves (~ +0.12 °C decade−1) this indicates that the “scaling ratio” (SR, or ratio of atmospheric trend to surface trend: TLT/Tsfc) of the observations is ~0.8 ± 0.3. This is significantly different from the average SR calculated from the IPCC AR4 model simulations which is ~1.4. This result indicates the majority of AR4 simulations tend to portray significantly greater warming in the troposphere relative to the surface than is found in observations. The SR, as an internal, normalized metric of model behavior, largely avoids the confounding influence of short-term fluctuations such as El Niños which make direct comparison of trend magnitudes less confident, even over multi-decadal periods. View Full-Text
Keywords: tropical temperature; climate change; satellite temperatures; climate models tropical temperature; climate change; satellite temperatures; climate models
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Christy, J.R.; Herman, B.; Pielke, R., Sr.; Klotzbach, P.; McNider, R.T.; Hnilo, J.J.; Spencer, R.W.; Chase, T.; Douglass, D. What Do Observational Datasets Say about Modeled Tropospheric Temperature Trends since 1979? Remote Sens. 2010, 2, 2148-2169.

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