Northern hemisphere surface air temperature variations: 1851–1984

PD Jones, SCB Raper, RS Bradley, HF Diaz, PM Kelly, TML Wigley

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A new compilation of monthly mean surface air temperature for the Northern Hemisphere for 1851-1984 is presented based on land-based meteorological station data and fixed-position weather ship data. Only reliable or corrected station data have been used in calculating area averages. Grid point temperature estimates have been made by interpolating onto a 5o latitude by 10o longitude grid for each month of the 134 years. In the period of best data coverage, 58% of the area of the Northern Hemisphere is covered by the available data network. The reliability of hemispheric estimates is assessed for earlier periods when coverage is less than this maximum. Year-to-year estimates are considered reliable back to about 1875. Estimates earlier than this are judged sufficiently good to indicate trends back to 1851. This new land-based hemispheric temperature curve is compared with recent estimates of Northern Hemisphere temperatures based on marine data. The two independent estimates agree well on the decadal time scale back to the start of the century, but important discrepancies exist for earlier times.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-179
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Climate and Applied Meteorology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1986

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