NEW Upper Air Temperature Climate Data Record

NOAA Climate Date Record of Lower Stratospheric Microwave Brightness Temperature Map

In February 2013, NCDC announced the release of the Upper Air Temperature (UAT) Climate Data Record (CDR)—a time series of upper atmospheric measurements with sufficient length, consistency, and continuity to determine climate variability and change. Developed through a grant to Remote Sensing Systems, this new CDR covers 1978 to 2011 and provides a record of upper air temperatures at four distinct layers within the troposphere and stratosphere. Scientists created this CDR by analyzing atmospheric data from both the older Microwave Sounding Units and the new Advanced Microwave Sounding Units, which temperature-sounding microwave radiometers on polar-orbiting weather satellites measure. These microwave radiometers provide profiles of the energy emitted from the Earth’s atmosphere, which scientists then use to calculate a variety of variables such as temperature. The UAT CDR provides global average temperatures and anomaly data on a 2.5-by-2.5-degree grid and is available in netCDF file format with variables containing standard deviation, quality flags, and projection information.

As with all operational CDRs at NCDC, the UAT CDR meets rigorous standards recommended by the National Academy of Sciences and other expert bodies to help ensure consistent, reliable, and scientifically defensible products. These CDR data are valuable in a wide range of applications including climate change detection such as stratospheric warming/cooling and climate extremes.  This CDR can also support oceanographers, meteorologists, climate modelers, and researchers, as well as decision making in industry and government.