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30-Year atmospheric temperature record derived by one-dimensional variational data assimilation of MSU/AMSU-A observations

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In the past, satellite observations of the microwave radiation emitted from the atmosphere have been directly utilized for deriving the climate tends of vertical-layer-averaged atmospheric temperatures. This study presents the 30-year atmospheric temperature trend derived by one-dimensional variational (1D-Var) data assimilation of Microwave Sounding Unit/Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A (MSU/AMSU-A) observations. Firstly, the radiance measurements from MSU on board the early National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-6 to NOAA-14 and AMSU-A on board NOAA-15 to -19 have been inter-calibrated to form a fundamental climate data record. A 1D-Var method is then employed to establish the thematic climate data record of atmospheric temperature profiles that are appropriate for climate change study. Verification of the MSU/AMSU-A derived temperature profiles with collocated Global Positioning System radio occultation data confirms a reasonable good accuracy of the derived atmospheric temperature profiles in the troposphere and low stratosphere. Finally, the global climate trend of the atmospheric temperature in clear-sky conditions is deduced, showing not only a global warming in the troposphere and a cooling in the stratosphere, but also a stronger warming in the upper troposphere than in the low troposphere.

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This work was supported by Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology project 2010CB951600 and NOAA satellite calval program. The authors thank Dr. K. Wang for his assistances in producing numerical results and figures. The views expressed in this paper reflect the opinion of the authors and do not represent the US government.

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Correspondence to Fuzhong Weng.

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Weng, F., Zou, X. 30-Year atmospheric temperature record derived by one-dimensional variational data assimilation of MSU/AMSU-A observations. Clim Dyn 43, 1857–1870 (2014).

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