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QUARC - Quantifying Uncertainty in Adjusted Radiosonde Climate records

An automatic radiosonde homogenisation system that can produce an ensemble of radiosonde temperature datasets based on different methodological decisions has been developed. It uses a neighbour based, iterative approach similar to the manual method employed in HadAT (the Hadley Centre gridded radiosonde temperature product). Each dataset realisation is created by using a different set of system parameter settings to within reasonable bounds. These system settings reflect different plausible assumptions that could be made in the development of a climate quality radiosonde dataset. The results can be used to investigate uncertainties in long term radiosonde observations.

Brief description of the data

This website contains data from a number of system experiments. Results from these experiments are discussed in a number of papers (see references below). Some experiments were performed on observations of radiosonde temperature anomalies, whereas others were performed using error model data (temperature anomalies from climate model data with known inhomgenieties applied). The later enables validation of the homogenisation system in a realisatic manner. The observational and error model input data are provided, as well as the large scale trends estimated from each experiment. We encourage the use of the error model data to reassess other radiosonde homogenisation systems.

Tropical trends from observations
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The estimates of trend uncertainties are described in this paper:

Peter W. Thorne, Philip Brohan, Holly A. Titchner, Mark P. McCarthy, Steve C. Sherwood, Thomas C. Peterson, Leopold Haimberger, David E. Parker, Simon F. B. Tett, Benjamin D. Santer, David R. Fereday, John J. Kennedy, 2011: A quantification of uncertainties in historical tropical tropospheric temperature trends from radiosondes, J.G.R. (A). 116, D12116, 29 June 2011. (PDF file)

The error models and realistic validation experiments are described in this paper:

Titchner, H. A., P. W. Thorne, M. P. McCarthy, S. F. B. Tett, L. Haimberger, and D. E. Parker, 2009: Critically reassessing tropospheric temperature trends from radiosondes using realistic validation experiments, J. Climate, 22, 465-485, doi: 10.1175/2008JCLI2419.1 (PDF file)

The homogenisation system methodology is described in the following paper:

McCarthy, M. P., H. A. Titchner, P. W. Thorne, S. F. B. Tett, L.Haimberger, D. E. Parker, 2008: Assessing bias and uncertainty in the HadAT adjusted radiosonde climate record, J. Climate., 21, doi: 10.1175/2007JCLI1733.1 (PDF file)

The following papers also include results from some experiments:

Guo, Y., P. W. Thorne, M. P. McCarthy, H. A. Titchner, B. Huang, Z. Panmao, Y. Ding, 2008: Radiosonde temperature trends and their uncertainties over Eastern China, Int. J. Climatol., 28, 1269-1281 (PDF file)

Sherwood, S. C., C. L. Meyer, R. J. Allen, and H. A. Titchner, 2008: Robust tropospheric warming revealed by interatively homogenised radiosonde data, J. Climate., 21, doi: 10.1175/2008JCLI2320.1 (PDF file)

Sherwood, S., H. Titchner, P. Thorne, and M. McCarthy, 2008: How do we tell which estimates of past climate change are correct? In press Int. J. Climatol. (PDF file)

The figure above has been taken from Thorne et al. (2011). See the paper for more information.

Dataset produced in collaboration with:

Met Office University of Vienna