I was poking around the Hadley site and found this interesting announcement. It seems Hadley CRU / Dr. Phil Jones is looking for a candidate to do this project, with the goal of (as I read it) creating some sort of merger between surface data and MSU satellite data to create a wholly new (and one would hope, imporved) MSU data set. Sort of a “ground truth” for Lower Tropo data I suppose. Given Hadley’s latest antics of purging publicly available data, one wonders if we’ll even get to see the results of this. Any candidates out there? – Anthony
Can we create a better Microwave Sounding Unit climate record through the use of high-quality in-situ data?
School: Environmental Sciences
Supervisor(s): Professor Phil Jones; Dr Roland von Glasow
Application Deadline: 30th September 2009
SELF FUNDED STUDENTS ONLY. The Microwave Sounding Unit and replacement Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit have been operational since late 1978. They are flown on-board the NOAA series of polar-orbiting satellites and more recently the METOP platform. They measure upwelling microwave emissions from Oxygen molecules which are dependent almost entirely upon temperature. This makes their analysis as a fundamental climate data record appealing. However, the measurements have been made with forecast input in mind leading to inevitable and insidious non-climatic influences permeating the record.
The challenge is how best to remove these to retain an unambiguous estimate of the true long-term changes. To date MSU satellite climate datasets of bulk atmospheric temperature profile characteristics have been created solely by comparison between records from individual satellite platforms. Although this is adequate to identify the likely issues, such a two-point intercalibration is mathematically fundamentally ill-posed for the unambiguous removal of non-climatic influences from the time series.
To adequately remove the non-climatic influences requires multiple independent estimates of the true field value to be able to identify which instrument is behaving anomalously and then remove the non-climatic artefacts with minimal uncertainty. Furthermore, this historical approach runs a fundamental risk to the climate record if at any point there is either no satellite or only one satellite measuring, which could plausibly be the case at some point in the future and has been the case for a limited time in the historical record.
We have high quality processed (non-operational) time series available from a number of sites around the world. These sites include stations participating in the ARM program and a number of national observatories and special research sites. Their data cover most, if not all, of the MSU record which begins in 1979. We also have access to a wealth of information from reanalysis feedback files from the more recent reanalyses, and from the global radiosonde network. Taken together these data should be sufficient to allow a fundamentally different approach to be undertaken to MSU dataset development and hence to re-evaluate currently available MSU-based series. At a minimum they should permit a realistic assessment of the range of plausible time series evolution in a way that is well constrained.
Lessons learnt from the work would have the opportunity to significantly inform development of the recently instigated GCOS Reference Upper Air Network (GRUAN). It would also benefit major upcoming scientific assessments and reanalyses efforts. The student will be expected to spend substantial amounts of time both at the Met Office Hadley Centre and the DWD Lindenberg observatory facility that acts as the lead centre for GRUAN. However, the bulk of their time will be spent at UEA. Financial support will be available for these placements and they will afford a substantial opportunity for the right candidate to develop their skills and expertise.
The candidate will be given training in the critical analysis of disparate observational datasets, statistical analysis techniques, computing techniques as well as standard UEA and Met Office training courses as seen fit by the supervisory panel. The placement in different locations will aid teamwork, transferability of computing skills and problem solving development. The candidate will be expected to provide at least one presentation to a Met Office audience and one to a UEA audience and to attend one high profile conference or workshop. Opportunities may arise to attend further international meetings as funding permits.
GCOS, 2003: The Second Report on the Adequacy of the Global Observing Systems for Climate in support of the UNFCCC. Global Climate Observing System GCOS-82, WMO/TD No. 1143, 74 pp
GCOS, 2004: GCOS Implementation Plan for the Global Observing System for Climate in support of UNFCCC. GCOS-92, WMO/TD 1219, 136 pp
Mears, C.A. and F.J. Wentz, 2005: The effect of diurnal correction on satellite-derived lower tropospheric temperature. Science, 309, 1548-1551
Thorne P.W., et al., 2005a: Revisiting radiosonde upper air temperatures from 1958 to 2002, J. Geophys. Res., 110, D18105, doi:10.1029/2004JD005753
Thorne, P.W., et al., 2005b: Uncertainties in climate trends: Lessons from upper-air temperature records. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 86, 1437–1442