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Yearly and Pentadal Anomalies from WOA98

Correction to data fields for "Warming of the World Ocean"- Science (2000)

The temperature anomaly fields calculated in conjunction with "Warming of the World Oceans" (Science, 2000) have a systematic error for years 1997 and 1998. Sippican started distributing XBT recording software with the Hanawa et al. (1995) depth equation as default in August, 1996. We were unaware of this and continued to apply a depth correction to XBT profiles from all T4, T6, and T7 XBT probes, which was necessary due to errors in the original default depth equation used on Sippican XBT software. The result of applying the depth correction to profiles which used the Hanawa depth equation was calculated depths deeper than the actual depths. In regions where temperature decreases with increasing depth, this resulted in the appearance of "warmer" water at these depths. Although the new Sippican software was not (and is still not) universally distributed, sufficient numbers of XBTs in 1997 and 1998 were recorded with this software to artificially inflate the positive temperature anomalies for these years.

This error does not affect the conclusions of the Science paper, since years 1997 and 1998 were not used to calculate the rate of change of ocean heat content. However, the 1997 and 1998 yearly temperature anomaly fields were made available online. Thus we recommend that people who downloaded these data and used them in their studies should revise their results using the updated temperature anomaly fields.

We have calculated new temperature anomaly fields with the XBT depth correction problem properly resolved and with the addition of significant amounts of new data for the 1990s and other periods. These results published in Geophysical Research Letters: Levitus, S. J. I. Antonov, T. P. Boyer, 2005: Warming of the World Ocean, 1955-2003 Geophys. Res. Lett.,32, L02604, doi:10.1029GL021592, online reprint (pdf, 1.12 MB).

The temperature anomaly fields are available online.

Please use these temperature anomaly fields rather than the fields from the earlier work.
We apologize for this problem, Syd Levitus, John Antonov, Tim Boyer.

  Last modified:    Thu, 23-Apr-2015 19:57 UTC
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