Analyses of global sea surface temperature 1856-1991

A. Kaplan, M. A. Cane, Y. Kushnir, Amy C Clement, M. B. Blumenthal, B. Rajagopalan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Global analyses of monthly sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies from 1856 to 1991 are produced using three statistically based methods: optimal smoothing (OS), the Kalman filter (KF) and optimal interpolation (OI). Each of these is accompanied by estimates of the error covariance of the analyzed fields. The spatial covariance function these methods require is estimated from the available data; the time-marching model is a first-order autoregressive model again estimated from data. The data input for the analyses are monthly anomalies from the United Kingdom Meteorological Office historical sea surface temperature data set (MOHSST5) [Parker et al., 1994] of the Global Ocean Surface Temperature Atlas (GOSTA) [Bottomley et al., 1990]. These analyses are compared with each other, with GOSTA, and with an analysis generated by projection (P) onto a set of empirical orthogonal functions (as in Smith et al. [1996]). In theory, the quality of the analyses should rank in the order OS, KF, OI, P, and GOSTA. It is found that the first four give comparable results in the data-rich periods (1951-1991), but at times when data is sparse the first three differ significantly from P and GOSTA. At these times the latter two often have extreme and fluctuating values, prima facie evidence of error. The statistical schemes are also verified against data not used in any of the analyses (proxy records derived from corals and air temperature records from coastal and island stations). We also present evidence that the analysis error estimates are indeed indicative of the quality of the products. At most times the OS and KF products are close to the OI product, but at times of especially poor coverage their use of information from other times is advantageous. The methods appear to reconstruct the major features of the global SST field from very sparse data. Comparison with other indications of the El Nino - Southern Oscillation cycle show that the analyses provide usable information on interannual variability as far back as the 1860s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans
Volume103
Issue numberC9
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 15 1998
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

ocean temperature
ocean surface
sea surface temperature
surface temperature
Kalman filters
smoothing
interpolation
global ocean
atlas
sea surface
Kalman filter
products
Interpolation
anomalies
time marching
orthogonal functions
Southern Oscillation
Temperature
el Nino
United Kingdom

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Global perspective
  • Sea surface temperature
  • Temporal variation
  • Time series analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Oceanography

Cite this

Kaplan, A., Cane, M. A., Kushnir, Y., Clement, A. C., Blumenthal, M. B., & Rajagopalan, B. (1998). Analyses of global sea surface temperature 1856-1991. Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans, 103(C9). https://doi.org/10.1029/98JC01736

Analyses of global sea surface temperature 1856-1991. / Kaplan, A.; Cane, M. A.; Kushnir, Y.; Clement, Amy C; Blumenthal, M. B.; Rajagopalan, B.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans, Vol. 103, No. C9, 15.08.1998.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kaplan, A, Cane, MA, Kushnir, Y, Clement, AC, Blumenthal, MB & Rajagopalan, B 1998, 'Analyses of global sea surface temperature 1856-1991', Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans, vol. 103, no. C9. https://doi.org/10.1029/98JC01736
Kaplan, A. ; Cane, M. A. ; Kushnir, Y. ; Clement, Amy C ; Blumenthal, M. B. ; Rajagopalan, B. / Analyses of global sea surface temperature 1856-1991. In: Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans. 1998 ; Vol. 103, No. C9.
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