Climate field reconstruction under stationary and nonstationary forcing

Scott Rutherford, M. E. Mann, T. L. Delworth, R. J. Stouffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


The fidelity of climate reconstructions employing covariance-based calibration techniques is tested with varying levels of sparseness of available data during intervals of relatively constant (stationary) and increasing (non-stationary) forcing. These tests employ a regularized expectation-maximization algorithm using surface temperature data from both the instrumental record and coupled ocean-atmosphere model integrations. The results indicate that if radiative forcing is relatively constant over a data-rich calibration period and increases over a data-sparse reconstruction period, the imputed temperatures in the reconstruction period may be biased and may underestimate the true temperature trend. However, if radiative forcing is stationary over a data-sparse reconstruction period and increases over a data-rich calibration period, the imputed values in the reconstruction period are nearly unbiased. These results indicate that using the data-rich part of the twentieth-century instrumental record (which contains an increasing temperature trend plausibly associated with increasing radiative forcing) for calibration does not significantly bias reconstructions of prior climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)462-479
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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