Relative rates of temperature change between the troposphere and surface, and the mechanisms that produce these changes, have long been a contentious issue. Graversen et al.1, predicated upon the ERA-40 reanalysis2, report polar tropospheric amplification of surface warming and attempt to explain this finding dynamically. Here we show (1) that data from satellites3,4 and weather balloons5 indicate that the ERA-40 trends are increasingly unrealistic polewards of 62° N; (2) that the two other reanalyses considered1 exhibit very different polar trends; and (3) that the vertical profile of polar trends in ERA-40 is unrealistic, particularly above the troposphere. These quasi-independent strands of evidence imply that the pattern of warming in the Arctic troposphere is highly unlikely to be as given in ERA-40 and as reported by Graversen et al.1.
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Thorne, P. Arctic tropospheric warming amplification?. Nature 455, E1–E2 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature07256
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