Thomas R. Karl

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Thomas R. Karl (born 22 November 1951, in Evergreen Park, Illinois) is the former director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). [1] He joined the National Climate Centre in 1980, and when that became the National Climatic Data Center, he continued as a researcher, becoming a Lab Chief, Senior Scientist and ultimately Director of the Center. When it merged with other centers to become NCEI in 2015, he became its first director. He retired on 4 August 2016. [2]

Illinois American State

Illinois is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois has been noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway to the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration US government scientific agency

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is an American scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce that focuses on the conditions of the oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere.

The United States National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), headquartered in Asheville, North Carolina, is the world's largest active archive of environmental data. In 2015 it was established from the merger of the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) and the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC). The current director is Mary Wohlgemuth.


Global warming hiatus debate

Karl was the lead on a study on the question of the possible existence of a hiatus in global warming, as discussed in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report . In the study, published in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science journal in June 2015 and based on previously published datasets, they found no indication of a slowdown, even in the period from 1998 to 2012 which had been highlighted by the IPCC. [3] [4] [5] [6] This analysis incorporated the latest homogenization corrections for known biases in ocean temperature measurements as published by others in NOAA's Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature dataset version 4, and land temperatures from the new International Surface Temperature Initiative dataset, integrated with NOAA’s Global Historical Climatology Network. [4] [7] Scientists working on other datasets welcomed this study, though the view was expressed at the time that the short term warming trend had been slower than in previous periods of the same length. [8] After he published these results, Karl was attacked by climate change denialists, including Lamar Smith, chair of the House Science Committee. In 2017 the findings of the Karl et al. study were confirmed by another group of scientists using different methodologies. [9] [10] [11]

IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Intergovernmental report on climate change

The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the fifth in a series of such reports. The IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information concerning climate change, its potential effects and options for adaptation and mitigation.

American Association for the Advancement of Science international non-profit organization promoting science

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is an American international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the betterment of all humanity. It is the world's largest general scientific society, with over 120,000 members, and is the publisher of the well-known scientific journal Science, which had a weekly circulation of 138,549 in 2008.

Homogenization in climate research means the removal of non-climatic changes. Next to changes in the climate itself, raw climate records also contain non-climatic jumps and changes for example due to relocations or changes in instrumentation. The most used principle to remove these inhomogeneities is the relative homogenization approach in which a candidate stations is compared to a reference time series based on one or more neighboring stations. The candidate and reference station(s) experience about the same climate, non-climatic changes that happen only in one station can thus be identified and removed.


Department of Commerce Gold Medal

The Department of Commerce Gold Medal is the highest honor award of the United States Department of Commerce. Since 1949, the Gold Medal is presented by the Secretary of Commerce for distinguished performance. The award may be presented to an individual, group, or organization in the Commerce Department for extraordinary, noble, or prestigious contributions that impact the mission of the department and/or one or more operating units, which reflects favorable on the department.

NOAA Administrators Award

The NOAA Administrator's Award is an award of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The award is granted by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere who serves concurrently as the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The award, which may go to an individual or a group, is presented in recognition of significant contributions to NOAA programs. The award is presented to civilian employees of NOAA as a plaque and as a medal set to members of the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps. Individual recipients of the award receive a monetary award of $5,000. Recipients of group awards split the monetary award evenly. Administrator's Award recipients are formally recognized at an award ceremony held annually.

Department of Commerce Bronze Medal

The Department of Commerce Bronze Medal is the third of three honor awards of the United States Department of Commerce. Since 1949, the Bronze Medal is the highest award presented by the head or secretarial officer of an operating unit of the Department of Commerce such as the NOAA, NIST, NWS, etc. for superior performance. The award may be presented to an individual, group, or organization for outstanding or significant contributions which have increased the efficiency and effectiveness of the operating unit of the Department of Commerce.


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Scientific intergovernmental body

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations, dedicated to providing the world with an objective, scientific view of climate change, its natural, political and economic impacts and risks, and possible response options.


Related Research Articles

Attribution of recent climate change

Attribution of recent climate change is the effort to scientifically ascertain mechanisms responsible for recent global warming and related climate changes on Earth. The effort has focused on changes observed during the period of instrumental temperature record, particularly in the last 50 years. This is the period when human activity has grown fastest and observations of the atmosphere above the surface have become available. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it is "extremely likely" that human influence was the dominant cause of global warming between 1951 and 2010. The best estimate is that observed warming since 1951 has been entirely human caused.

Satellite temperature measurements

Satellite temperature measurements are inferences of the temperature of the atmosphere at various altitudes as well as sea and land surface temperatures obtained from radiometric measurements by satellites. These measurements can be used to locate weather fronts, monitor the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, determine the strength of tropical cyclones, study urban heat islands and monitor the global climate. Wildfires, volcanos, and industrial hot spots can also be found via thermal imaging from weather satellites.

Instrumental temperature record In situ measurements that provides the temperature of Earths climate system

The instrumental temperature record provides the temperature of Earth's climate system from the historical network of in situ measurements of surface air temperatures and ocean surface temperatures. Data are collected at thousands of meteorological stations, buoys and ships around the globe. The longest-running temperature record is the Central England temperature data series, which starts in 1659. The longest-running quasi-global record starts in 1850. In recent decades more extensive sampling of ocean temperatures at various depths have begun allowing estimates of ocean heat content but these do not form part of the global surface temperature datasets.

Michael E. Mann American physicist and climatologist

Michael Evan Mann is an American climatologist and geophysicist, currently director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, who has contributed to the scientific understanding of historic climate change based on the temperature record of the past thousand years. He has pioneered techniques to find patterns in past climate change, and to isolate climate signals from noisy data.

National Climatic Data Center Active US archive of weather data.

The United States National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), previously known as the National Weather Records Center (NWRC), in Asheville, North Carolina, was the world's largest active archive of weather data. Starting as a tabulation unit in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1934, the climate records were transferred to Asheville in 1951, becoming named the National Weather Records Center (NWRC). It was later renamed the National Climatic Data Center, with relocation occurring in 1993. In 2015, it was merged with the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) and the National Oceanic Data Center (NODC) into the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

Climatic Research Unit

The Climatic Research Unit (CRU) is a component of the University of East Anglia and is one of the leading institutions concerned with the study of natural and anthropogenic climate change.

The National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) was one of the national environmental data centers operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The main NODC facility was located in Silver Spring, Maryland and was made up of five divisions. The NODC also had field offices collocated with major government or academic oceanographic laboratories in Stennis Space Center, MS; Miami, FL; La Jolla, San Diego, California; Seattle, WA; Austin, Texas; Charleston, South Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; and Honolulu, Hawaii. In 2015, NODC was merged with the National Climatic Data Center and the National Geophysical Data Center into the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

State of the Climate

The State of the Climate is an annual report that is primarily led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Climatic Data Center (NOAA/NCDC), located in Asheville, North Carolina, but whose leadership and authorship spans roughly 100 institutions in about 50 countries.

Global warming Current rise in Earths average temperature and its effects

Global warming is the long-term rise in the average temperature of the Earth's climate system. It is a major aspect of current climate change, and has been demonstrated by direct temperature measurements and by measurements of various effects of the warming. The term commonly refers to the mainly human-caused increase in global surface temperatures and its projected continuation. In this context, the terms global warming and climate change are often used interchangeably, but climate change includes both global warming and its effects, such as changes in precipitation and impacts that differ by region. There were prehistoric periods of global warming, but observed changes since the mid-20th century have been much greater than those seen in previous records covering decades to thousands of years.

Climate of California

The climate of California varies widely, from hot desert to polar, depending on latitude, elevation, and proximity to the coast. California's coastal regions, the Sierra Nevada foothills, and much of the Central Valley have a Mediterranean climate, with warmer, drier weather in summer and cooler, wetter weather in winter. The influence of the ocean generally moderates temperature extremes, creating warmer winters and substantially cooler summers in coastal areas.

Hockey stick controversy

In the hockey stick controversy, the data and methods used in reconstructions of the temperature record of the past 1000 years have been disputed. Reconstructions have consistently shown that the rise in the instrumental temperature record of the past 150 years is not matched in earlier centuries, and the name "hockey stick graph" was coined for figures showing a long-term decline followed by an abrupt rise in temperatures. These graphs were publicised to explain the scientific findings of climatology, and in addition to scientific debate over the reconstructions, they have been the topic of political dispute. The issue is part of the global warming controversy and has been one focus of political responses to reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Arguments over the reconstructions have been taken up by fossil fuel industry–funded lobbying groups attempting to cast doubt on climate science.

Anthony Watts (blogger) American television meteorologist

Willard Anthony Watts is an American blogger who runs Watts Up With That?, a popular climate change denial blog that opposes the scientific consensus on climate change. A former television meteorologist and current radio meteorologist, he is also founder of the Surface Stations project, a volunteer initiative to document the condition of U.S. weather stations. The Heartland Institute helped fund some of Watts' projects, including publishing a report on the Surface Stations project, and has invited him to be a paid speaker at its International Conference on Climate Change from 2008 to 2014.

This article is about the physical impacts of climate change. For some of these physical impacts, their effect on social and economic systems are also described.

The UAH satellite temperature dataset, developed at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, infers the temperature of various atmospheric layers from satellite measurements of radiance.

Berkeley Earth organization

Berkeley Earth is a Berkeley, California-based independent 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on land temperature data analysis for climate science. Berkeley Earth was founded in early 2010 with the goal of addressing the major concerns from outside the scientific community regarding global warming and the instrumental temperature record. The project's stated aim was a "transparent approach, based on data analysis." In February 2013, Berkeley Earth became an independent non-profit. In August 2013, Berkeley Earth was granted 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status by the US government. The primary product is air temperatures over land, but they also produce a global dataset resulting from a merge of their land data with HadSST.

NOAA Central Library

The NOAA Central Library is the flagship library of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) network of over 20 research libraries. It is also a selective federal depository library for United States federal government publications.[6]

1994 North American cold wave

The 1994 North American cold wave occurred over the midwestern United States, eastern United States, and southern Canada during January 1994. Two notable cold air events occurred from January 18–19 and from January 21–22. There were 67 minimum temperature records set on January 19. Indiana and Kentucky both set state records on January 19. The United States experienced its coldest temperature month since February 1934, although much of the West experienced mild temperatures. Washington and Idaho experienced the second-warmest January recorded in the previous 100 years.

Global warming hiatus period of relatively little change in globally averaged surface temperatures

A global warming hiatus, also sometimes referred to as a global warming pause or a global warming slowdown, is a period of relatively little change in globally averaged surface temperatures. In the current episode of global warming many such 15-year periods appear in the surface temperature record, along with robust evidence of the long-term warming trend. Such a "hiatus" is shorter than the 30-year periods that climate is classically averaged over.

Warming stripes Data visualization graphics of long-term trends of annual temperature anomalies

Warming stripes are data visualization graphics that use a series of coloured stripes chronologically ordered to visually portray long-term temperature trends. Warming stripes reflect a "minimalist" style, conceived to use colour alone to intuitively convey global warming trends to non-scientists while avoiding technical distractions.


  1. "NESDIS Organizational Chart as of 02/ 19/ 15". NOAA. February 19, 2015. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  2. "Tom Karl Retires After Nearly 41 Years of Service". National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) formerly known as National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). 4 August 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  3. Karl, Thomas R.; Arguez, Anthony; Huang, Boyin; Lawrimore, Jay H.; McMahon, James R.; Menne, Matthew J.; Peterson, Thomas C.; Vose, Russell S.; Zhang, Huai-Min (26 June 2015). "Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus". Science. 348 (6242): 1469–1472. doi:10.1126/science.aaa5632. PMID   26044301. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  4. 1 2 "The Recent Global Surface Warming Hiatus". NOAA. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  5. "Scientists Cast Doubt On An Apparent 'Hiatus' In Global Warming". National Public Radio. June 4, 2015. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  6. "Global warming 'pause' didn't happen, study finds". The Guardian. 2015-06-04. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  7. Johnson, Scott K. (24 January 2016). "Thorough, not thoroughly fabricated: The truth about global temperature data". Ars Technica UK. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  8. "US scientists: Global warming pause 'no longer valid'". BBC News. 2015-06-04. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  9. "New study confirms NOAA finding of faster global warming". The Guardian. 4 January 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  10. "New analysis shows Lamar Smith's accusations on climate data are wrong". Arstechnica. 4 January 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  11. Hausfather, Zeke; et al. (2017). "Assessing recent warming using instrumentally homogeneous sea surface temperature records". Science Advances . 3 (1): e1601207. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1601207. PMC   5216687 .
  12. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2004-08-23. Retrieved 2004-09-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)