Temperature trends at the Mauna Loa observatory, Hawaii

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Observations at the Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii, established the systematic increase of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere. For the same reasons that this site provides excellent globally averaged CO2 data, it may provide temperature data with global significance. Here, we examine hourly temperature records, averaged annually for 1977-2006, to determine linear trends as a function of time of day. For night-time data (22:00 to 06:00 LST (local standard time)) there is a near-uniform warming of 0.040 degrees C yr(-1). During the day, the linear trend shows a slight cooling of -0.014 degrees C yr(-1) at 12:00 LST (noon). Overall, at Mauna Loa Observatory, there is a mean warming trend of 0.021 degrees C yr(-1). The dominance of night-time warming results in a relatively large annual decrease in the diurnal temperature range (DTR) of -0.050 degrees C yr(-1) over the period 1977-2006. These trends are consistent with the observed increases in the concentrations of CO2 and its role as a greenhouse gas (demonstrated here by first-order radiative forcing calculations), and indicate the possible relevance of the Mauna Loa temperature measurements to global warming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)975-983
Number of pages9
JournalClimate of the past
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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