Reassessing biases and other uncertainties in sea surface temperature observations measured in situ since 1850: 2. Biases and homogenization

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Abstract

[1] Changes in instrumentation and data availability have caused time-varying biases in estimates of global and regional average sea surface temperature. The size of the biases arising from these changes are estimated and their uncertainties evaluated. The estimated biases and their associated uncertainties are largest during the period immediately following the Second World War, reflecting the rapid and incompletely documented changes in shipping and data availability at the time. Adjustments have been applied to reduce these effects in gridded data sets of sea surface temperature and the results are presented as a set of interchangeable realizations. Uncertainties of estimated trends in global and regional average sea surface temperature due to bias adjustments since the Second World War are found to be larger than uncertainties arising from the choice of analysis technique, indicating that this is an important source of uncertainty in analyses of historical sea surface temperatures. Despite this, trends over the twentieth century remain qualitatively consistent.

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