Layman’s abstract for Environmetrics article on a combined estimate of global temperature

Each week, we publish layman’s abstracts of new articles from our prestigious portfolio of journals in statistics. The aim is to highlight the latest research to a broader audience in an accessible format.
The article featured today is from Environmetrics with the full article now available to read here.
Craigmile, P. F., & Guttorp, P. (2021). A combined estimate of global temperatureEnvironmetrics, e2706.
Measuring global temperature is a complicated process involving temperature stations, ships’ logbooks, buoy records and many other tools. There are areas of the world with very limited measurement availability. In this paper recent updates of five different temperature series, each using different statistical methods and different choices of data, are used to calculate a new combined estimate of global annual mean temperature. Four series have been produced by government agencies and one by a private research group. Since the five series use partly overlapping data sets, this must be accounted for in the statistical analysis. The differences between individual data series and the combined estimate illustrate potential sources of deviation between the series.  Performing the same analysis leaving one data set out at the time, shows the very small influence of each data series on the overall estimate. On the other hand, the error estimates are more sensitive to the different series, since each group who created the series have different approaches to estimating errors. The new estimate constitutes a more authoritative global temperature series with corresponding standard errors. The analysis code as well as the data sets used are made available to other researchers, and should be a useful resource. Using the combined estimate of the global temperature series, the global temperature has increased 1.2°C (with a standard error of 0.03°C) over the pre-industrial 1880-1900 average. The years 2015-2020 are virtually certain to have been the six warmest years in temperature-recorded history.
More Details