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Global annualized temperature

“full of [snip] up to their eyebrows”

by   — March 4, 2012

Guest Post by Dr. Robert Brown,
Physics Dept. Duke University [elevated from comments]

Dr. Brown mentions “global temperature” several times. I’d like to know what he thinks of this.

Dr. Brown thinks that this is a very nice piece of work, and is precisely the reason that he said that anybody who claims to know the annualized average temperature of the Earth, or the Ocean, to 0.05 K is, as the saying goes, full of [snip] up to their eyebrows.

What I think one can define is an average “Global Temperature” — noting well the quotes — by following some fixed and consistent rule that goes from a set of data to a result. For example, the scheme that is used to go from satellite data to the UAH lower troposphere temperature. This scheme almost certainly does not return “the average Global Temperature of the Earth” in degrees absolute as something that reliably represents the coarse-grain averaged temperature of (say) the lowest 5 kilometers of the air column, especially not the air column as its height varies over an irregular terrain that is itself sometimes higher than 5 kilometers. It does, however, return something that is likely to be close to what this average would be if one could sample and compute it, and one at least hopes that the two would co-vary monotonically most of the time.


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