Is there a Warm Bias in the Nightime Land Surface Temperature Record?

The answer is YES.

The paper Pielke Sr., R.A., and T. Matsui, 2005: Should light wind and windy nights have the same temperature trends at individual levels even if the boundary layer averaged heat content change is the same? Geophys. Res. Letts., 32, No. 21, L21813, 10.1029/2005GL024407 has appeared.

The consequences of this paper go well beyond just questioning the conclusions of the 2004 D.E. Parker paper in Nature entitled Large-scale warming is not urban. In fact, the requirement, based on our physical understanding of the vertical profile of air temperatures in the lowest levels of the atmosphere, is that the averaging of air temperature trends at night over land will introduce a warm temperature bias in comparison to any boundary layer averaged long-term temperature increase. This occurs because, while the stronger wind nights will have similar temperature trends as a function of height, on lighter wind nights a long-term boundary layer temperature increase would produce an amplified temperature increase in the lowest levels.

This paper provides further evidence of why we need to move away from using surface temperatures as a metric to monitor global climate heat changes.

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