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Measuring Global Temperatures: Analysis and Interpretation

By: Ian C Strangeways

264 pages, 76 b/w illus, 2 tabs

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Nov 2009 | #182761 | ISBN-13: 9780521898485
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NHBS Price: £97.99 $128/€112 approx

About this book

Temperature is probably the most influential of all climatic variables. Our only direct, quantitative knowledge of global temperatures comes from instruments operated over the last 150 or so years. Yet as crucial and as central as this data is to our understanding of the climate, it is largely taken for granted, even by many of those using them.

This book fills this gap by explaining how global temperatures are measured, how the data is analysed, what the potential errors are, and what needs to be done to improve temperature measurement in the future. It is written in accessible language with little mathematics, and so will appeal to students and amateur meteorologists with a strong interest in weather and climate.

'I can thoroughly recommend this book to the scientific community and to the layman with concern for climate and what may or may not be happening to it.' John Rodda, The Newsletter of the British Hydrological Society '... an excellent account of the problems and difficulties encountered in measuring global mean temperature, an important climate variable which has become perhaps the most intensely discussed parameter in the present global warming & climate change debate ... a very readable account ...' Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society Bulletin


Preface; 1. The balance of energy; 2. Thermometry; 3. Screens, stands and shelters; 4. Measuring land surface air temperatures; 5. Measuring sea surface and marine air temperatures; 6. Measuring sea temperature profiles; 7. Global instrument networks; 8. From point measurements to global means; 9. Temperature changes since 1850; 10. Temperature profiles through the atmosphere; 11. Future measurements; Appendix A. The gas laws; Appendix B. Relative humidity and dew point; Appendix C. The electromagnetic spectrum; Appendix D. Satellite measurements of surface temperature; Appendix E. Metadata; Appendix F. The southern oscillation index; Index.

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Ian Strangeways obtained his degree in electronic engineering, physics and mathematics from Bangor University, followed by a PhD in meteorological instrumentation from Reading University. After 24 years at the Institute of Hydrology as head of the Applied Physics Section, concerned with measuring the hydrometeorological environment, he became Director of TerraData, a consultancy in meteorological and hydrological data collection.

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