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New estimates of uncertainty in the marine surface temperature record

New estimates of uncertainty in the marine surface temperature record
New estimates of uncertainty in the marine surface temperature record
Sea Surface Temperature (SST) represents the marine component of surface global temperature, the indicator underpinning the Paris Agreement. This thesis presents major advances in the understanding of the systematic biases and their uncertainty associated with changes in the observing protocol in the ship-only SST record since about 1850. First, by developing a method that probabilistically groups the observations in plausible ship tracks (and therefore potentially associates observations made with the same measurement method), the length of the tracks and the percentage of reports associated with individual platforms increased substantially. Following this analysis, the consistency of the SST was also found to have improved. Secondly, by comparing the SST diurnal variations observed by individual ships with a reference derived from drifting buoys, the SST measurement method was verified or estimated. Following this new classification of the changing ratio of bucket to engine-room inlet (ERI) observations, the difference between bucket and ERI SST anomalies in the period 1955 - 70 increased more rapidly when compared to existing estimates. Better and well validated physical models of SST biases in observations made with buckets were developed by comparing measurements made in the laboratory to predictions of models used in common gridded analyses to bias adjust SST observations made with buckets. Uncertainties due to the effects of turbulence and the assumption of well-mixed water samples were identified as a substantial limiting factor for the direct application of these models to the historical record. Building on the improved platform and observational metadata, SST observations from ships in the period 1992 - 2007 were bias adjusted by modelling their differences from climate-quality satellite data within a Bayesian hierarchical spatial model and as a function of the leading drivers characteristic to the observational biases for each measurement type. A comparison with existing bias adjustments, showed that current SST estimates for the past two decades might be characterized by undetected biases, especially in the ERI record, that could affect the estimates of global and regional surface temperature trends.
University of Southampton
Carella, Giulia
3e1debcd-101d-46b3-99dc-eef476e0b262
Carella, Giulia
3e1debcd-101d-46b3-99dc-eef476e0b262
Kent, Elizabeth
66c11636-4b72-499b-9fa0-a2d8b1d1df52

Carella, Giulia (2017) New estimates of uncertainty in the marine surface temperature record. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 173pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Sea Surface Temperature (SST) represents the marine component of surface global temperature, the indicator underpinning the Paris Agreement. This thesis presents major advances in the understanding of the systematic biases and their uncertainty associated with changes in the observing protocol in the ship-only SST record since about 1850. First, by developing a method that probabilistically groups the observations in plausible ship tracks (and therefore potentially associates observations made with the same measurement method), the length of the tracks and the percentage of reports associated with individual platforms increased substantially. Following this analysis, the consistency of the SST was also found to have improved. Secondly, by comparing the SST diurnal variations observed by individual ships with a reference derived from drifting buoys, the SST measurement method was verified or estimated. Following this new classification of the changing ratio of bucket to engine-room inlet (ERI) observations, the difference between bucket and ERI SST anomalies in the period 1955 - 70 increased more rapidly when compared to existing estimates. Better and well validated physical models of SST biases in observations made with buckets were developed by comparing measurements made in the laboratory to predictions of models used in common gridded analyses to bias adjust SST observations made with buckets. Uncertainties due to the effects of turbulence and the assumption of well-mixed water samples were identified as a substantial limiting factor for the direct application of these models to the historical record. Building on the improved platform and observational metadata, SST observations from ships in the period 1992 - 2007 were bias adjusted by modelling their differences from climate-quality satellite data within a Bayesian hierarchical spatial model and as a function of the leading drivers characteristic to the observational biases for each measurement type. A comparison with existing bias adjustments, showed that current SST estimates for the past two decades might be characterized by undetected biases, especially in the ERI record, that could affect the estimates of global and regional surface temperature trends.

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Published date: 23 October 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 415483
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/415483
PURE UUID: b936f1a8-6e02-4889-865e-02bf601a8b9a

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Date deposited: 13 Nov 2017 17:30
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 19:15

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