Paper “A Stable Boundary Layer Perspective On Global Temperature Trends” By McNider Et Al 2010

There is an important paper on the use of surface air temperatures over land to construct a global average surface temperature anomaly [h/t Jos de Laat]. The paper is

R T McNider et al 2010:   A stable boundary layer perspective on global temperature trends IOP Conf. Ser.: Earth Environ. Sci. 13 012003 doi: 10.1088/1755-1315/13/1/012003

The abstract reads [highlighted added]

One of the most significant signals in the thermometer-observed temperature record since 1900 is the decrease in the diurnal temperature range over land, largely due to warming of the minimum temperatures. While some data sets have indicated this asymmetrical warming has been reduced since 1979, regional analyses (e.g. East Africa) indicate that the nocturnal warming continues at a pace greater than daytime temperatures. The cause for this night time warming in the observed temperatures has been attributed to a variety of causes. Climate models have in general not replicated the change in diurnal temperature range well. Here we would like to try to distinguish between warming in the nocturnal boundary layer due to a redistribution of heat and warming due to the accumulation of heat. The temperature at night at shelter height is a result of competition between thermal stability and mechanical shear. If stability wins then turbulence is suppressed and the cooling surface becomes cut-off from the warmer air aloft, which leads to sharp decay in surface air temperature. If shear wins, then turbulence is maintained and warmer air from aloft is continually mixed to the surface, which leads to significantly lower cooling rates and warmer temperatures. This warming occurs due to a redistribution of heat. As will be shown by techniques of nonlinear analysis the winner of the stability and shear contest can be very sensitive to changes in greenhouse gas forcing, surface roughness, cloudiness, and surface heat capacity (including soil moisture). Further, the minimum temperatures measured in the nocturnal boundary layer represent only a very shallow layer of the atmosphere which is usually only a few hundred meters thick. It is likely that the observed warming in minimum temperature, whether caused by additional greenhouse forcing or land use changes or other land surface dynamics, is reflecting a redistribution of heat by turbulence-not an accumulation of heat. Because minimum temperatures in the stable boundary layer are not very robust measures of the heat content in the deep atmosphere and climate models do not predict minimum temperatures well, minimum temperatures should not be used as a surrogate for measures of deep atmosphere global warming.”

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