Comment on My Resignation from the CCSP Committee “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere- Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences”

There is a blog ( with the contribution entitled “What is the point of the CCSP Committee ‘Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere-Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences? “. In the blog, which is quite informative and well done, it summarizes my resignation as,

“And where does this leave RP Sr’s resignation? I don’t have a lot of sympathy for his POV, which appears to be the current discussion in the media based on the three Science Express articles misses the more significant issue of spatial trends in tropospheric temperature trends. This is just wrong, at least in terms of impact: the overwhelming issue, which caused the committee to be set up, was the difference in global average trends. It may not have been RP’s interest, which may be why he is so miffed, but it was everyone elses.”

What the post misses is that the specific charge to the CCSP Committee stated:

“Independently produced data sets that describe the four-dimensional temperature structure from the surface through the lower stratosphere provide different temperature trends……..This CCSP synthesis product will address the accuracy and consistency of these temperature records and outline steps necessary to reconcile differences between individual data sets.”

The use of the phrase “four-dimensional” means time and the three spatial dimensions. The assessment of global trends was only a part of the published charge to the Committee as reproduced above We need to also assess the three-dimensional structure of the temperature trends as well as upscale from the regional evaluations of the temperature structure to understand the global and zonally-averaged trends. Global and zonally averaged trends by themselves obscure the actual behavior of the climate system.

I will discuss this issue in more detail in the submission of my Public Comment to the CCSP Report, unless this view is accommodated in their final version.

Roger A. Pielke Sr.
Professor and State Climatologist
Department of Atmospheric Science
Colorado State University Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1371

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