GFDL - Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

Reanalysis Ideas — The Problem

Some Ideas For Future Reanalysis Efforts

John Lanzante

The Problem

  • Time series used for studying long-term climate often contain
    artificial inhomogeneities, especially jumps at times when measuring
    instruments are replaced. A striking example occurred at Calcutta, India in 1968.
    Many other such cases can be found, although typically they are not as extreme.

  • The difficulties are greater for radiosonde than surface or satellite
    data. The obstacles include:

    1. Historical documentation of changes in instruments or measurement
      practices is often incomplete, ambiguous or erroneous.

    2. The magnitudes of artificial inhomogeneities are often comparable to
      those of real climate variability, complicating the distinction
      between the two.

    3. Instrument changes are controlled at the country or station level;
      sometimes changes affect a large, contiguous area, hampering efforts
      to use “buddy-checks” of neighboring stations; in other instances
      changes occur at different times at each station, greatly magnifying
      the number of inhomogeneities which must be identified.

    4. The sparseness of the upper-air station network makes use of
      “buddy-checks” of neighboring stations more problematic.

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