FAQ-05: Do GRUAN data distinguish between accuracy and precision?


Precision is the recognition that there might be systematic uncertainties in a measurement, which are irrelevant for long term trends as long as the instrumentation does not change. However, for climate records spanning multiple decades, it is expected that the instrumentation will change several times. In particular sounding equipment has gone through a rapid development in the last years and slowing down of this development is not expected. Therefore, the distinction between accuracy and precision has only limited use for long term climate records. A more suitable concept is a best estimate for the level of confidence in a measurement, which may simply be called uncertainty estimation.

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