NOAA's National Climatic Data Center
Veach-Baley Federal Building
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801-5001
Telephone: +1 828.271.3025
Dr. Thorne completed his PhD in Climate Change Detection and Attribution in 2001 from the Climatic Research Unit in the University of East Anglia. He then worked at the Met Office Hadley Centre in the UK until 2010 within the Climate Monitoring and Attribution group. Initial work concentrated upon tropospheric temperature records. Together with colleagues, he created a radiosonde-based temperature dataset, automated the procedure, and benchmarked it against realistic test cases. This led to a conclusion that radiosonde temperatures were not adequate enough to conclusively inform on the debate about an apparent temperature trend discrepancy between the surface and the troposphere. He also contributed significantly to the CCSP report on this subject including lead-authorship on two chapters. Most recently he led, together with colleagues from NOAA and Reading University, a major review of the issue.
In the past several years Dr. Thorne's focus has turned to creating climate data records from the land surface network. He supervised a PhD project, which yielded a quality, controlled, homogenized surface humidity product at monthly resolution and contributed to subsequent analyses thereof. This analysis utilized the synoptic report resolution Integrated Surface Dataset from NCDC. Subsequent work has been focused on creating a quality-controlled version of this database for solely the long-running stations, which utilize an automated procedure with a view to subsequently undertaking homogenization efforts at the base reporting observation level. Whether this is even possible is an open question being pursued in collaboration with colleagues in the Met Office Hadley Centre and University of New South Wales Climate Change Research Centre.
Dr. Thorne has published on reanalyzes and has sat on a joint Global Climate Observing System / World Climate Research Program working group on observations for reanalyzes. He has also published on radiosonde humidity records and satellite Microwave Sounding Unit datasets.
For the last six years Dr. Thorne has been chair of a Working Group under the Auspices of the Global Climate Observing System whose role is to make the GCOS Reference Upper Air Network a reality. Since September 2010 he has chaired the steering committee of the International Surface Temperatures Initiative.
For the past three years Dr. Thorne has been an editor of the global chapter of the annual State of the Climate report. Dr. Thorne also contributed to two chapters of the IPCC 4th Assessment Working Group 1 report. He is a lead author for Working Group 1 of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report.
Dr. Thorne joined CICS-NC as a senior scientist and research associate professor in May 2010.
Diamond, H. J. et al. (2013), U.S. Climate Reference Network after One Decade of Operations: Status and Assessment. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc , http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00170
Lott, F. et al. (2013), Models versus Radiosondes in the Free Atmosphere: A New Detection And Attribution Analysis of Temperature, JGR, 118, 2609-2619 DOI: 10.1002/jgrd.50255
Willett, K. M. et al., (2013), "HadISDH: An updateable land surface specific humidity product for climate monitoring" Clim. Past, 9, 657-677, 2013, doi:10.5194/cp-9-657-2013
Santer, B. D. et al. (2013) Identifying human influences on atmospheric temperature PNAS, 110, 26-33, doi:10.1073/pnas.1210514109
Jay Lawrimore, Jared Rennie and Peter Thorne (2013) Responding to the Need for Better Global Temperature Data, EOS, 94 (6), 61-62 DOI: 10.1002/2013EO060002
Dunn, R. J. H., Willett, K. M. et al. (2012) HadISD: a quality-controlled global synoptic report database for selected variables at long-term stations from 1973-2011. Clim. Past, 8, 1649-1679 doi:10.5194/cp-8-1649-2012
Blunden, J., and D. S. Arndt, Eds., (2012) State of the Climate in 2011. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 93 (7), S1-S264.
Mears, C. A., Thorne, P. et al. (2012) ‘Assessing the value of Microwave Sounding Unit-radiosonde comparisons in ascertaining errors in climate data records of tropospheric temperature’ J. Geophys. Res., 117, D19103, doi:10.1029/2012JD017710.
Vose, R. S, Appelquist, S. et al. (2012) ‘An Intercomparison of Temperature Trends in the U.S. Historical Climatology Network And Recent Atmospheric Reanalyses’ Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, Art. No. L10703 doi:10.1029/2012GL051387
Chandler, R. E., Thorne, P. W. et al. (2012) ‘Building trust in climate science: data products for the 21st century’ Environmetrics, 23, 373-381
Williams, C. N., Menne, M. J. et al. (2012) ‘Benchmarking the performance of pairwise homogenization of surface temperatures in the United States’ J. Geophys. Res., 117, D05116, Â doi:10.1029/2011JD016761.
Thorne, P. W., J. R. Lanzante et al. (2011). ‘Tropospheric temperature trends: History of an ongoing controversy.’ WIRES: Climate Change. 2: 66-88.
Thorne, P. W. and R. S. Vose (2011). "Comments on "Reanalyses Suitable for Characterizing Long-Term Trends" Reply." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 92(1): 70-72.
Dai, A. G., J. H. Wang, et al. (2011). "A New Approach to Homogenize Daily Radiosonde Humidity Data." Journal of Climate 24(4): 965-991.
Mears, C. A., F. J. Wentz, et al. (2011) ‘Assessing uncertainty in estimates of atmospheric temperature changes from MSU and AMSU using a Monte-Carlo estimation technique’ Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 116, D08112 doi:10.1029/2010JD014954
Thorne, P. W., P. Brohan, et al. (2011) ‘A quantification of uncertainties in historical tropical tropospheric temperature trends from radiosondes’ Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, doi:10.1029/2010JD015487
Seidel, D. J., N. P. Gillett et al. (2011) ‘Stratospheric temperature trends: Our evolving understanding.’ WIRES: Climate Change, 2(4) 592-616, DOI: 10.1002/wcc.125
Blunden, J., D. S. Arndt et al. (2011) ‘State of the climate in 2010’ Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 92(6): S1-+
Peterson, T. C., K. M. Willett et al. (2011), ‘Observed changes in surface atmospheric energy over land’ Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L16707, doi:10.1029/2011GL048442
Thorne, P. W., K. M. Willett et al. (2011), ‘Guiding the Creation of a Comprehensive Surface Temperature Resource for 21st Century Climate Science.’, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, doi: 10.1175/2011BAMS3124.1
Santer, B. D., Mears, C.A, et al. (2011),"Separating Signal and Noise in Atmospheric Temperature Changes: The Importance of Timescale", Journal of Geophysical Research, doi:10.1029/2011JD016263
Simmons, A. J., K. M. Willett, et al. (2010). "Low-frequency variations in surface atmospheric humidity, temperature, and precipitation: Inferences from reanalyses and monthly gridded observational data sets." Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres 115 Article Number: D01110 DOI: 10.1029/2009JD012442.
Willett, K. M., P. D. Jones, et al. (2010). "A comparison of large scale changes in surface humidity over land in observations and CMIP3 general circulation models." Environmental Research Letters 5(2) Article Number: 025210 DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/5/2/025210.
Baringer, M. O., D. S. Arndt, et al. (2010). "STATE OF THE CLIMATE IN 2009." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 91(7): S1-+
Thorne, P. W. and R. S. Vose (2010). "REANALYSES SUITABLE FOR CHARACTERIZING LONG-TERM TRENDS Are They Really Achievable?" Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 91(3): 353-+.
Immler, F. J., J. Dykema, et al. (2010). "Reference Quality Upper-Air Measurements: guidance for developing GRUAN data products." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 3(5): 1217-1231.
Seidel, D. J., F. H. Berger, et al. (2009). "REFERENCE UPPER-AIR OBSERVATIONS FOR CLIMATE Rationale, Progress, and Plans." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 90(3): 361-+.
Peterson, T. C., M. O. Baringer, et al. (2009). "State of the Climate in 2008." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 90(8): S13-+.
McCarthy, M. P., P. W. Thorne, et al. (2009). "An Analysis of Tropospheric Humidity Trends from Radiosondes." Journal of Climate 22(22): 5820-5838.
Doherty, S. J., S. Bojinski, et al. (2009). "LESSONS LEARNED FROM IPCC AR4 Scientific Developments Needed To Understand, Predict, And Respond To Climate Change." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 90(4): 497-+.
Sherwood, S. C., H. A. Titchner, et al. (2009). "How do we tell which estimates of past climate change are correct." International Journal of Climatology 29(10): 1520-1523.
Titchner, H. A., P. W. Thorne, et al. (2009). ‘Critically Reassessing Tropospheric Temperature Trends from Radiosondes Using Realistic Validation Experiments.’ Journal of Climate 22(3): 465-485.
Kennedy, J., H. Titchner, et al. (2008). "Gobal and regional climate in 2007." Weather 63(10): 296-304.
McCarthy, M. P., H. A. Titchner, et al. (2008). "Assessing bias and uncertainty in the HadAT-adjusted radiosonde climate record." Journal of Climate 21(4): 817-832.
Santer, B. D., P. W. Thorne, et al. (2008). "Consistency of modelled and observed temperature trends in the tropical troposphere." International Journal of Climatology 28(13): 1703-1722.
Thorne, P. W. (2008). "Arctic tropospheric warming amplification?" Nature 455(7210): E1-E2.
Willett, K. M., P. D. Jones, et al. (2008). "Recent Changes in Surface Humidity: Development of the HadCRUH Dataset." Journal of Climate 21(20): 5364-5383.
Willett, K. M., N. P. Gillett, et al. (2007). "Attribution of observed surface humidity changes to human influence." Nature 449(7163): 710-U716.
Bengtsson, L., P. Arkin, et al. (2007). "The need for a dynamical climate reanalysis." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 88(4): 495-501.
Thorne, P. W., D. E. Parker, et al. (2007). "Tropical vertical temperature trends: A real discrepancy?" Geophys. Res. Lett. 34(16).
Stott, P. A., G. S. Jones, et al. (2006). "Transient climate simulations with the HadGEM1 climate model: Causes of past warming and future climate change." Journal of Climate 19(12): 2763-2782.
Durre, M., T. Reale, et al. (2005). "Improving the usefulness of operational radiosonde data." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 86(3): 411-416.
Thorne, P. W., D. E. Parker, et al. (2005). "Uncertainties in climate trends - Lessons from upper-air temperature records." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 86(10): 1437-+.
Thorne, P. W., T. R. Karl, et al. (2005). "Vertical profiles of temperature trends." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 86(10): 1471-1476.
Thorne, P. W., D. E. Parker, et al. (2005). "Revisiting radiosonde upper air temperatures from 1958 to 2002." Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres 110(D18).
Santer, B. D., T. M. L. Wigley, et al. (2005). "Amplification of surface temperature trends and variability in the tropical atmosphere." Science 309(5740): 1551-1556.
Tett, S. and P. Thorne (2004). "Tropospheric temperature series from satellites." Nature 432(7017).
Seidel, D. J., J. K. Angell, et al. (2004). "Uncertainty in signals of large-scale climate variations in radiosonde and satellite upper-air temperature datasets." Journal of Climate 17(11): 2225-2240.
Thorne, P. W., P. D. Jones, et al. (2003). "Probable causes of late twentieth century tropospheric temperature trends." Climate Dynamics 21(7-8): 573-591.
Thorne, P. W., P. D. Jones, et al. (2002). "Assessing the robustness of zonal mean climate change detection." Geophysical Research Letters 29(19).
Significant progress has been made on creation of a new surface temperature databank resource with over 40 contributions from the international community that will yield an initial release consisting of the order of 40,000 stations – a marked improvement over GHCN. A substantial reassessment of US surface temperature records reinforced our understanding of this record and pointed to an asymmetrical error with far greater probability that we underestimate than overestimate the real trend. The GCOS Reference Upper Air Network continues to grow and we have received applications from several new sites.
In situ climate records represent a substantial challenge both historically and into the future. These measurements were never made in a metrologically traceable fashion and change has been ubiquitous. These projects aim to address both the backward looking problem and propose solutions moving forwards.
The International Surface Temperature Initiative aims to improve our fundamental understanding of historical land surface records through a renewed effort to gain better ‘raw’ data holdings and improved provenance thereof, look at the homogenization problem anew and undertake benchmarking (software testing) in a rigorous fashion.
The GCOS Reference Upper Air Network aims to create a network of global reference quality measurements with robust uncertainty estimates derived through an unbroken chain to absolute standards. Within year representation was made to GCOS to instigate a similar global surface network along the lines of USCRN. Within a system of systems approach such networks form the top tier and will be instrumental in insuring the quality of the future climate record for future generations of researchers.
Significant advances have been made in the efforts to create a first version release of a monthly land surface temperature databank. Over 40 data sources have been accrued from national and international partners. Work has then been undertaken by CICS and NCDC staff to create a merging procedure that is automatic, modular, and tunable. Efforts are ongoing in this regard and a first release is envisaged in summer 2012. This release is likely to consist of the order 40,000 unique stations. Figure 1 shows the map of station availability in the 40 sources prior to attempting to merge.
Figure 1. Map of station coverage as at 1/13/12 in the databank. Source: Jared Rennie
Significant efforts have also accrued on other aspects of the surface temperature initiative. An example of benchmarking approaches has been published in JGR considering the US land surface data record USHCN. The use of benchmarks, and an ensemble of plausible realizations of the pairwise homogenization algorithm yielded additional insights into the likely uncertainties in this record. The algorithm was shown to be reasonable but have a propensity to under-estimate the trend adjustment required in the presence of an overall systematically biased input data stream with a propensity for breaks of one sign. This is similar to known facets of the US surface raw data yielding a conclusion that we are far more likely to be underestimating than overestimating CONUS warming trends.
Efforts continue to build up the GCOS Reference Upper Air Network. Regulatory materials have been prepared and vetted. Data has started flowing for the first product – radiosonde profiles – through NOAA NCDC. Significant progress has been made towards bringing additional measurements into the data stream including lidars, radiometers and GPS precipitable water. Three new sites have applied or are in the process of applying to join the network.
Work has continued on the IPCC WG1 AR5 drafting process. The First Order Draft was prepared and submitted to review. These reviews art now in the process of being considered. Authorship on the climate chapter team for the National Climate Assessment has started.
Williams, C. N., M. J. Menne, and P. W. Thorne, Benchmarking the performance of pairwise homogenization of surface temperatures in the United States. J. Geophys. Res., 117, D05116, doi:10.1029/2011JD016761
Thorne, P. W., K. M. Willett et al. Guiding the Creation of a Comprehensive Surface Temperature Resource for 21st Century Climate Science. Bull. Am. Met. Soc., doi: 10.1175/2011BAMS3124.1
Santer, B. D., C.A. Mears, C. Doutriaux, P.M. Caldwell, P.J. Gleckler, T.M.L. Wigley, S. Solomon, N. Gillett, D.P. Ivanova, T.R. Karl, J.R. Lanzante, G.A. Meehl, P.A. Stott, K.E. Taylor, P. Thorne, M.F. Wehner, and F.J. Wentz. Separating Signal and Noise in Atmospheric Temperature Changes: The Importance of Timescale. J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2011JD016263,
Peterson, T. C., K. M. Willett et al. Observed changes in surface atmospheric energy over land. Geophys. Res. Lett., 38: L16707, doi:10.1029/2011GL048442
Thorne, P. W., et al. A quantification of uncertainties in historical tropical tropospheric temperature trends from radiosondes. J. Geophys. Res. - Atmos., 116, D12116, doi:10.1029/2010JD015487.
Seidel, D. J., N. P. Gillett et al. Stratospheric temperature trends: Our evolving understanding. WIRES: Climate Change, 2(4): 592-616 DOI: 10.1002/wcc.125
Blunden, J., D. S. Arndt et al. State of the climate in 2010. Bull. Amer. Met. Soc., 92(6), S1-S266
Dai, A. G., J. H. Wang, et al. A New Approach to Homogenize Daily Radiosonde Humidity Data. J. Clim., 24(4): 965-991.
Mears, C. A., F. J. Wentz, et al. Assessing uncertainty in estimates of atmospheric temperature changes from MSU and AMSU using a Monte-Carlo estimation technique. J. Geophys. Res. - Atmos., 116, D08112 doi:10.1029/2010JD014954.