Conclusions From Allen and Sherwood (2008) and Thorne (2008) Are Refuted

In 2008, there were two papers published in Nature which received quite a bit of  attention. The papers are

Robert J. Allen & Steven C. Sherwood, 2008: Warming maximum in the tropical upper troposphere deduced from thermal winds Published online: 25 May 2008; | doi:10.1038/ngeo208

P. W. Thorne, 2008: “Atmospheric science: The answer is blowing in the wind;  Published online: 25 May 2008; | doi:10.1038/ngeo209

I posted on these two papers in

Use Of Winds To Diagnose Long Term Temperature Trends – Two New Papers

Comments On The Science In The Nature Paper By Allen and Sherwood

It has taken over two years but in our paper

Christy, J.R., Herman, B., Pielke, R., Sr., Klotzbach, P., McNider, R.T., Hnilo, J.J., Spencer, R.W., Chase, T., and Douglass, D. What Do Observational Datasets Say about Modeled Tropospheric Temperature Trends since 1979?. Remote Sens. 2010, 2, 2148-2169

we refute the findings in the Allen and Sherwood (2008) and Thorne (2008) papers. In our paper in Section 3.1.3, we write

“The temperature trends derived from the thermal wind equation (TWE) (AS08 and C10) are indirect estimates and their magnitudes are significantly higher than the other products which measure the temperature directly.”  [AS(08) = Allen and Sherwood (2008) and C10 = Christy et al (2010)]


“[W]e conclude that these trends calculated from the TWE, as applied for AS08 and here (C10), using the current radiosonde coverage and observational limitations (consistency, accuracy, etc.) do not produce results reliable enough for studies such as ours. In particular, AS08 and C10, with TLT trends of +0.29 and +0.28 °C decade−1 are almost three times that of the mean of the directly measured systems, and are values that are, in our view, simply not consistent with the countervailing, directly-measured evidence.”

In other words, The Allen and Sherwood (2008) finding that

“Over the period of observations, we find a maximum warming trend of 0.650.47 K per decade near the 200 hPa pressure level, below the tropical tropopause. Warming patterns are consistent with model predictions except for small discrepancies close to the tropopause……The agreement with models increases confidence in current model-based predictions of future climate change”

has been refuted as reported in the Christy et al 2010 paper.

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