I have been working with climate reanalysis. I found some more resources, mainly through the Univ Maine Climate Change Institute. They have a collection of reanalysis offerings, some of which are just remappings of flat plots on the globe. But they have useful information collections, and also guides. A comprehensive guide page is here. They have a collection of GHCN daily data here, convenient, although not up to date. They have globe maps of daily temperature, as I do here, but again with a considerable lag. And they have a section on monthly reanalysis time series here, which is the focus of this post.
They let you draw graphs of annual data, and plots of each month over years, but frustratingly, not a monthly plot. This may be to avoid including seasonal variation; they are not anomalies. However, they do give tables of the monthly average temperature for various reanalysis methods, to only 1 decimal precision :(. Despite that limitation, it is useful for me, because I had wondered whether the convenience and currentness of the NCEP/NCAR data was undermined by its status as a first generation product. I now think not; the integrated global temperature anomaly is quite similar to more advanced products (MERRA is something of an outlier). More below the fold.
The first thing I wanted to check, since they give NCEP/NCAR v1, is whether they get the same answers as I did by integrating the grids. Again, CCI data only goes to 2012. Here is the plot for the most recent 8 years, set to 1994-2013 anpmaly base (actually to 2012 for the CCI version).
At first I was disappointed that they didn't overlay more closely. Then I remembered their 1 decimal accuracy, and then it seemed quite good agreement. You don't see 0.1 steps, because I've subtracted each month's mean. There may also be discrepancies because my numbers are likely more recent.
So then I plotted 5 reanalyses as shown by CCI. These are the main ones that go to near present (usually some time in 2012). You can read about them in the CCI guide. ERA is ERA-Interim. Ncepdoe is NCEP/DOE.
Again. quite good agreement if you allow for the limited precision. Surprising that MERRA, supposed to be one of the best, seems most deviant, even though others like CFSR are also well-regarded. It may of course be that MERRA is right. But anyway. there is nothing in the plot to disqualify NCEP/NCAR.
So I'll stick with it. It seems to be the most current, and I appreciate the 8 Mb download (for daily update). CFSR, for example, seems to come in multi-Tb chunks, which for me would be a multi-year task just to download. Resolution is not an issue for a global average.