The International Surface Temperature Initiative: Progress towards better understanding of land surface air temperature changes

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner
Tuesday, 4 February 2014: 3:45 PM
Room C101 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Peter W. Thorne, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, Bergen, Norway; and J. H. Lawrimore and K. M. Willett

The International Surface Temperature Initiative was started in 2010 with the aim of creating a suite of improved estimates of land surface air temperature changes across a range of space and time scales. Since then a number of climate scientists, statisticians, metrologists and others have been working hard to change this from aspirational to a reality. Here, the substantial progress to date will be outlined.

The first, substantial, effort has been to create a new set of fundamental data holdings. Scientists from across the globe have worked hard to source as many openly available digital records as possible. These records have been merged under the leadership of scientists at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center to create a new set of merged holdings. In the first instance monthly resolution data have been merged. Now, instead on 7,200 stations presented as a fait accompli to users we have over 30,000 stations with the sources and their merging entirely open and transparent. This forms the starting point for any group to come in and analyze the data either globally or regionally.

The second effort which is envisaged to be completed on the timescale of the conference is the creation of a set of analogs to the databank holdings. These statistically produced series will look and feel like the databank. Unlike the real-world though because they have been synthetically produced we will know a priori where and what data issues were added. It will therefore be possible to quantify the efficacy of different algorithms submitted to these analogs as part of a benchmarking exercise. This should help to provide some rigorous basis for intercomparison and spur methodological advances.

Now, we need to encourage multiple groups to engage in the creation of algorithms which homogenize the databank holdings and participate in the benchmarking exercise in an open and transparent manner. Then we will be well placed to provide rigorously quantified advice to science and society in support of climate services. Further information on the initiative and its progress can be found at www.surfacetemperatures.org