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Introducing a New Edition of NOAA’s Global Surface Temperature Dataset


This paper, published in Geophysical Research Letters, introduces a new edition of NOAA’s Global Surface Temperature dataset (NOAAGlobalTemp). Global surface temperature is a key indicator of observed climate change. Due to limited polar coverage, the operational edition of NOAAGlobalTemp does not fully capture the rapid warming in the Arctic observed over the past few decades. By integrating additional temperature data and using improved scientific methods to increase both spatial and temporal coverage, this new addition offers, for the first time, complete coverage of the land and oceans from 1850-2018. Both the current and new versions of NOAAGlobalTemp show statistically significant warming across the globe and the Arctic for all periods, with comparable global trends. The new analysis, however, exhibits significantly more warming in the Arctic since 1980 (by over a tenth of a degree), outside the operational dataset’s bounds of statistical confidence. The difference, the study authors note, is due primarily to coverage gaps in the operational dataset. This new version underscores NOAA’s commitment to developing improved versions of foundational datasets and will substantially contribute to future NOAA monitoring and assessment activities. CPO’s Climate Observations and Monitoring (COM) program supported the development of the updated dataset. 

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