Evaluation of the Temperature Trend and Climate Forcing in the Pre- and Post Periods of Satellite Data Assimilation

  • Alfred M. PowellJr.
  • Jianjun Xu


Based on multiple linear regression analysis, three temperature datasets from two reanalyses and one set of satellite observations have been used to evaluate the different responses in the winter [December–February (DJF)] period in the pre- and post periods of satellite data assimilation as they relate to a selected set of climate forcings: solar, the stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO), El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), and stratospheric aerosol optical depth (AOD). The two periods are defined as 1958–1978 when no satellite data was available to be assimilated and the 1979–2002 period when satellite data was assimilated in the operational forecast models. The multiple regression analysis shows that the solar response of the DJF temperatures in the three datasets shows large-scale similarities although there are differences over the southern middle-high latitudes and some tropical areas. The stratospheric response showed the strongest DJF temperature anomalies related to solar variability occurring over the Arctic, but its sign is negative in 1979–2002 and positive in 1958–1978. The temperature features may be partially explained by the impacts of the solar cycle, El Niño Southern Oscillation, stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation, stratospheric aerosols, and other factors. In contrast, the tropospheric response, with a dynamic wavelike structure, occurs over the middle latitudes. The tropospheric differences between the two periods are not clearly resolved and raise questions about the efficacy of the observations and our ability to use the observations effectively.


Aerosol Optical Depth Total Solar Irradiance Reanalysis Dataset Solar Variability Stratospheric Aerosol 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The NCEP/NCAR monthly reanalysis data were obtained from NOAA/CDC Web site. The ERA-40 reanalysis data were obtained from the ECMWF Web site and the solar sunspot number from the NOAA/NGDC Web site. The authors would like to thank these agencies for providing the data. Special thanks to Dr. C. Zou from NOAA/NESDIS/STAR for many excellent discussions and the MSU temperature datasets that were provided.

This work was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS), and Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR). The views, opinions, and findings contained in this publication are those of the authors and should not be considered an official NOAA or US Government position, policy, or decision.


  1. Balachandran NK, Rind D, Lonergan P, Shindell DT (1999) Effects of solar cycle variability on the lower stratosphere and the troposphere. J Geophys Res 104:27321–27339. doi: 10.1029/1999JD900924 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Crooks SA, Gray LJ (2005) Characterization of the 11-year solar signal using a multiple regression analysis of the ERA-40 dataset. J Climate 18:996–1015. doi: 10.1175/JCLI-3308.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dewitte S, Crommelynck D, Mekaoui S, Joukoff A (2005) Measurement and uncertainty of the long-term total solar irradiance trend. Sol Phys 224:209–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dunkerton TJ, Delisi DP, Baldwin MP (1998) Middle atmosphere cooling trend in historical rocketsonde data. Geophys Res Lett 25:3371–3374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fröhlich C, Lean J (1998) Sun’s total irradiance: cycles, trends and related climate change uncertainties since 1976. Geophys Res Lett 25:4377–4380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fröhlich C, Lean J (2004) Solar radiative output and its variability: evidence and mechanisms. Astron Astrophys Rev 12:273–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gleisner H, Thejll P (2003) Patterns of tropospheric response to solar variability. Geophys Res Lett 30(13):1711. doi: 10.1029/2003GL017129 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gray LJ, Haigh JD, Harrison RG (2005) Review of the influences of solar changes on the Earth’s climate. Hadley Centre technical note no. 62, Met Office, Exeter, 82 ppGoogle Scholar
  9. Gray LJ, Rumbold ST, Shine KP (2009) Stratospheric temperature and radiative forcing response to 11-year solar cycle changes in irradiance and ozone. J Atmos Sci 66(8):2402–2417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Haigh J (2003) The effects of solar variability on the Earth’s climate. Philos Trans R Soc Ser A 361:95–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Haigh J, Blackburn M, Day R (2005) The response of tropospheric circulation to perturbations in lower-stratospheric temperature. J Climate 18:3672–3685. doi: 10.1175/JCLI3472.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hansen J et al (2005) Efficacy of climate forcings. J Geophys Res 110:D18104. doi: 10.1029/2005JD005776 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Holton JR, Tan H-C (1980) The influence of the equatorial quasi-biennial oscillation on the global circulation at 50 mb. J Atmos Sci 37(10):2200–2208Google Scholar
  14. Hood LL (2004) Effects of solar variability on the stratosphere. In: Pap JM, Fox P (eds) Solar variability and its effects on climate, vol 141, Geophysical monograph series. AGU, Washington, D.C., pp 283–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2007) Climate change 2007: the physical sciences basis, Cambridge University Press, New York. Available at
  16. Kalnay E et al (1996) The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 77:437–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Keckhut P, Hauchecorne A, Chanin M (1995) Midlatitude long term variability of the middle atmosphere trends and cyclic and episodic changes. J Geophys Res 100:18887–18897CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Keckhut P, Wild J, Gelman M, Miller AJ, Hauchecorne A (2001) Investigations on long-term temperature changes in the upper stratosphere using lidar data and NCEP analyses. J Geophys Res 106:7937–7944CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Keckhut P, Cagnazzo C, Chanin M, Claud C, Hauchecorne A (2005) The 11-year solar-cycle effects on the temperature in the upper-stratosphere and mesosphere: part I – assessment of observations. J Atmos Sol Terr Phys 67:940–947. doi: 10.1016/j.jastp.2005.01.008 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kodera K, Shibata K (2006) Solar influence on the tropical stratosphere and troposphere in the northern summer. Geophys Res Lett 33:L19704. doi: 10.1029/2006GL026659 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Labitzke K et al (2002) The global signal of the 11-year solar cycle in the stratosphere: observations and models. J Atmos Sol Terr Phys 64:203–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lean J (2006) Comment on “Estimated solar contribution to the global surface warming using the ACRIM TSI satellite composite” by N. Scafetta and B. J. West. Geophys Res Lett 33:L15701. doi: 10.1029/2005GL025342 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Matthes K, Kuroda Y, Kodera K, Langematz U (2006) Transfer of the solar signal from the stratosphere to the troposphere: Northern winter. J Geophys Res 111:D06108. doi: 10.1029/2005JD006283 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Meehl GA, Arblaster JM (2009) A lagged warm event-like response to peaks in solar forcing in the Pacific region. J Climate 22:3647–3660CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Meehl GA et al (2009) Amplifying the pacific climate system response to a small 11-Year solar cycle forcing. Sci 325:1114. doi: 10.1126/science.1172872
  26. Mo KC, Wang XL, Kistler R, Kanamitsu M, Kalnay E (1995) Impact of satellite data on the CDAS-reanalysis system. Mon Weather Rev 123:124–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pawson S, Fiorino M (1999) A comparison of reanalyses in the tropical stratosphere. Part 3: inclusion of the pre-satellite data era. Clim Dyn 15:241–250. doi: 10.1007/s003820050279 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Powell A, Xu J (2010) An investigation of the relationship between the equatorial quasi-biennial oscillation, the Arctic stratosphere and solar forcing. J Atmos Sol Terrestrial Phys 1354–1363. doi:  10.1016/j.jastp.2010.09.024
  29. Powell A, Xu J (2011) Comparisons of temperature response to solar forcing in the pre- and post periods of satellite data assimilation. Int J Climatol 31:2312–2329. doi: 10.1002/joc.2239 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rind D, Lean J, Lerner J, Lonergan P, Leboissitier A (2008) Exploring the stratospheric/tropospheric response to solar forcing. J Geophys Res 113:D24103. doi: 10.1029/2008JD010114 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Scafetta N, West BJ (2005) Estimated solar contribution to the global surface warming using the ACRIM TSI satellite composite. Geophys Res Lett 32:L18713. doi: 10.1029/2005GL023849 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Scafetta N, West BJ (2006) Reply to comment by J. L. Lean on Estimated solar contribution to the global surface warming using the ACRIM TSI satellite composite. Geophys Res Lett 33:L15702. doi: 10.1029/2006GL025668 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Scaife AA, Austin J, Butchart N, Pawson S, Keil M, Nash J, James IN (2000) Seasonal and interannual variability of the stratosphere diagnosed from UKMO TOVS analyses. Q J R Meteorol Soc 126:2585–2604. doi: 10.1002/qj.49712656812 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Uppala SM et al (2005) The ERA-40 re-analysis. Q J R Meteorol Soc 131:2691–3012CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. van Loon H, Labitzke K (2000) The influence of the 11-year solar cycle on the stratosphere below 30 km: a review. Space Sci Rev 94:259–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. van Loon H, Shea DJ (1999) A probable signal of the 11-year solar cycle in the troposphere of the Northern Hemisphere. Geophys Res Lett 26:2893–2896. doi: 10.1029/1999GL900596 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. van Loon H, Shea DJ (2000) The global 11-year solar signal in July August. Geophys Res Lett 27:2965–2968. doi: 10.1029/2000GL003764 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Willson RC, Mordvinov AV (2003) Secular total solar irradiance trend during solar cycles 21–23. Geophys Res Lett 30(5):3–6Google Scholar
  39. Xu J, Powell A (2010) Ensemble spread and its implication for the evaluation of temperature trends from multiple radiosondes and reanalyses products. Geophys Res Lett 37:L17704. doi: 10.1029/2010GL044300 Google Scholar
  40. Zou C, Goldberg M, Cheng Z, Grody N, Sullivan J, Cao C, Tarpley D (2006) Recalibration of microwave sounding unit for climate studies using simultaneous nadir overpasses. J Geophys Res 111:D19114. doi: 10.1029/2005JD006798 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Zou C, Gao M, Goldberg M (2009) Error structure and temperature trends in observations from the microwave sounding unit. J Climate 22:1661–1680Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR) in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) located at the NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction (NCWCP)College ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of GGS, Environmental Science and Technology Center (ESTC)/College of Science (COS)George Mason University (GMU)FairfaxUSA

Personalised recommendations