Unresolved issues with the assessment of multidecadal global land surface temperature trends Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper documents various unresolved issues in using surface temperature trends as a metric for assessing global and regional climate change. A series of examples ranging from errors caused by temperature measurements at a monitoring station to the undocumented biases in the regionally and globally averaged time series are provided. The issues are poorly understood or documented and relate to micrometeorological impacts due to warm bias in nighttime minimum temperatures, poor siting of the instrumentation, effect of winds as well as surface atmospheric water vapor content on temperature trends, the quantification of uncertainties in the homogenization of surface temperature data, and the influence of land use/land cover (LULC) change on surface temperature trends. Because of the issues presented in this paper related to the analysis of multidecadal surface temperature we recommend that greater, more complete documentation and quantification of these issues be required for all observation stations that are intended to be used in such assessments. This is necessary for confidence in the actual observations of surface temperature variability and long-term trends. Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 23.624

author list (cited authors)

  • Pielke, R., Davey, C. A., Niyogi, D., Fall, S., Steinweg-Woods, J., Hubbard, K., ... Blanken, P.

citation count

  • 157

complete list of authors

  • Pielke, Roger A Sr||Davey, Christopher A||Niyogi, Dev||Fall, Souleymane||Steinweg-Woods, Jesse||Hubbard, Ken||Lin, Xiaomao||Cai, Ming||Lim, Young-Kwon||Li, Hong||Nielsen-Gammon, John||Gallo, Kevin||Hale, Robert||Mahmood, Rezaul||Foster, Stuart||McNider, Richard T||Blanken, Peter

publication date

  • December 2007