Sack Lunch Seminar (SLS) - Duo Chan (WHOI)

Wednesday, April 12, 2023 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Building 54, 54-915
21 AMES ST, Cambridge, MA 02139

Combining Physical and Data-Driven Methods to Improve Historical Estimates of Earth Surface Temperatures


Abstract: Instrumental measurements are crucial for quantifying historical changes, benchmarking models, and constraining predictions. For the climate community, we, however, still lack long and accurate climate records, even for the earth's surface temperatures since the late 19th century. In this talk, I will introduce recent progress in understanding historical temperature variability after combining physical knowledge and data-driven methods to improve the quality of observational estimates. Specifically, I will answer two questions. First, how much has the earth's surface warmed since the 1880s, and how far away are we from the 1.5°C warming target? Second, how do biases in the pattern of sea-surface temperatures prevent atmospheric models from accurately simulating recorded North Atlantic hurricane variability? Our improved temperature estimates outline a simpler and smoother warming pattern throughout the 20th century. They also open up new opportunities for further constraining climate sensitivity, attributing climate variations, understanding the dynamics of climate patterns, and improving models. I also hope this talk could provide perspectives on performing proper model-data comparisons. When model and data disagree, although models could be problematic, data are also noisy and sometimes biased reflections of reality. Being skeptical about data quality always appears to be a good practice.

About this Series: The Atmospheres, Ocean and Climate Sack Lunch Seminar Series is an informal seminar series within PAOC that focuses on more specialized topics than the PAOC Colloquium. Seminar topics include all research concerning the science of atmospheres, ocean and climate. The seminars usually take place on Wednesdays from 12-1pm. The presentations are either given by an invited speaker or by a member of PAOC and can focus on new research or discussion of a paper of particular interest. Contact: for more information and Zoom password

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Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences
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