Responding to the Need for Better Global Temperature Data

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Abstract

Since the 1990s a number of national institutions have developed and maintained global data sets of land surface air temperature [Peterson and Vose, 1997; Hansen et al., 2010; Jones et al., 2012; Menne et al., 2012]. These efforts have led to great advances in understanding how Earth's temperatures have varied and changed. They also serve as essential sources of a fundamental climate variable, which is crucial for interpreting climate evolution in response to the interplay of radiative forcing, climate feedbacks, and ocean heating [e.g., Hansen et al., 2011]. However, more can be done to improve global surface temperature collections while enhancing data management, access, and public transparency with which data are collected, processed, and converted into climate information. To address these needs, the International Surface Temperature Initiative (ISTI), which began through a partnership of scientists from around the world [Thorne et al., 2011], released its first beta version of a global land surface databank in October 2012.

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