Data revisions and the statistical relation of global mean sea level and surface temperature

Eric Hillebrand*, Søren Johansen, Torben Schmith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

40 Downloads (Pure)


We study the stability of estimated linear statistical relations of global mean temperature and global mean sea level with regard to data revisions. Using four different model specifications proposed in the literature, we compare coefficient estimates and long-term sea level projections using two different vintages of each of the annual time series, covering the periods 1880–2001 and 1880–2013. We find that temperature and sea level updates and revisions have a substantial influence both on the magnitude of the estimated coefficients of influence (differences of up to 50%) and therefore on long-term projections of sea level rise following the RCP4.5 and RCP6 scenarios (differences of up to 40 cm by the year 2100). This shows that in order to replicate earlier results that informed the scientific discussion and motivated policy recommendations, it is crucial to have access to and to work with the data vintages used at the time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number41
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Data revisions
  • Sea level
  • Semi-empirical models
  • Temperature


Dive into the research topics of 'Data revisions and the statistical relation of global mean sea level and surface temperature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this