Recent high-resolution radiosonde climatologies have revealed a tropopause inversion layer (TIL) in the extratropics: temperature strongly increases just above a sharp local cold point tropopause. Here, it is asked to what extent a TIL exists in current general circulation models (GCMs) and meteorological analyses. Only a weak hint of a TIL exists in NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data. In contrast, the Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model (CMAM), a comprehensive GCM, exhibits a TIL of realistic strength. However, in data assimilation mode CMAM exhibits a much weaker TIL, especially in the Southern Hemisphere where only coarse satellite data are available. The discrepancy between the analyses and the GCM is thus hypothesized to be mainly due to data assimilation acting to smooth the observed strong curvature in temperature around the tropopause. This is confirmed in the reanalysis where the stratification around the tropopause exhibits a strong discontinuity at the start of the satellite era.