An update of observed stratospheric temperature trends

William J. Randel, Keith P. Shine, John Austin, John Barnett, Chantal Claud, Nathan P. Gillett, Philippe Keckhut, Ulrike Langematz, Roger Lin, Craig Long, Carl Mears, Alvin Miller, John Nash, Dian J. Seidel, David W. J. Thompson, Fei Wu, Shigeo Yoden

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An updated analysis of observed stratospheric temperature variability and trends is presented on the basis of satellite, radiosonde, and lidar observations. Satellite data include measurements from the series of NOAA operational instruments, including the Microwave Sounding Unit covering 1979-2007 and the Stratospheric Sounding Unit (SSU) covering 1979-2005. Radiosonde results are compared for six different data sets, incorporating a variety of homogeneity adjustments to account for changes in instrumentation and observational practices. Temperature changes in the lower stratosphere show cooling of ~0.5 K/decade over much of the globe for 1979-2007, with some differences in detail among the different radiosonde and satellite data sets. Substantially larger cooling trends are observed in the Antarctic lower stratosphere during spring and summer, in association with development of the Antarctic ozone hole. Trends in the lower stratosphere derived from radiosonde data are also analyzed, for a longer record (back to 1958); trends for the presatellite era (1958-1978) have a large range among the different homogenized data sets, implying large trend uncertainties. Trends in the middle and upper stratosphere have been derived from updated SSU data, taking into account changes in the SSU weighting functions due to observed atmospheric CO2 increases. The results show mean cooling of 0.5-1.5 K/decade during 1979-2005, with the greatest cooling in the upper stratosphere near 40-50 km. Temperature anomalies throughout the stratosphere were relatively constant during the decade 1995-2005. Long records of lidar temperature measurements at a few locations show reasonable agreement with SSU trends, although sampling uncertainties are large in the localized lidar measurements. Updated estimates of the solar cycle influence on stratospheric temperatures show a statistically significant signal in the tropics (~30°N-S), with an amplitude (solar maximum minus solar minimum) of ~0.5 K (lower stratosphere) to ~1.0 K (upper stratosphere).
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research D: Atmospheres
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2009

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