Detecting and adjusting artificial biases of long-term temperature records in Israel

Yizhak Yosef, Enric Aguilar, Pinhas Alpert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Climate trends analyses are studied through the analysis of long-term records which usually are compromised by artificial non-climatic factors (e.g., station relocation, instrumental replacements, etc). The impact of these factors on the analysis must be assessed and corrected in a procedure called “Homogenization,” before computing any trends. An unbiased analysis is essential for the East Mediterranean climate change, which suffers from scarcity of long and reliable datasets. Here, for the first time, we address these problems by jointly applying some of the state-of-the-art homogenization methods, to long-term Israeli temperature records (TX and TN) at five different meteorological stations throughout the period of 1950–2011. All of the studied time series were found to be inhomogeneous, where instrumentational issues were responsible for almost 50% of the breaks. The most frequent adjustments range between [−0.6, +0.6] oC while some larger adjustments do not fall within the range of the [−1, +1] °C interval. The adjustment of these breaks is crucial because they introduce large errors that may lead to wrong conclusions about the estimated trends. The difference in the seasonal and annual trends between raw and homogenized series was analysed applying the Mann–Kendall test. The general annual trend differences before and after homogenization, fell within the range of [−0.12, 0.16] oC/decade. Based on the homogenized dataset, a highly significant positive trend was found for the annual (Formula presented.) with 0.15 °C/decade (p =.002) whereas the (Formula presented.) trend was 0.10 °C/decade (p =.051). In general, the maximum temperature trends are lower and less statistically significant than those for minimum temperature. The most pronounced seasonal trends were recorded for the summer, which was characterized by significant positive trends for (Formula presented.) (0.15 °C/decade) and (Formula presented.) (0.23 °C/decade), while the winter had mainly no significant positive trends.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3273-3289
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Climatology
Volume38
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 30 Jun 2018

Keywords

  • East Mediterranean
  • Israel
  • climate change
  • homogenization
  • temperature
  • trend analysis

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