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Permanently mounted ultrasonic transducers have the potential to interrogate large areas of a structure, and thus be effective global sensors for structural health monitoring. Recorded signals, although very sensitive to damage, are long, complex, and difficult to interpret compared to pulse echo and through transmission signals customary for nondestructive testing. These diffuse signals also are quite sensitive to environmental effects such as temperature and surface condition changes. Waveform comparison methods such as time domain differencing and spectral analysis, although effective for detecting changes, are generally unsuccessful in discriminating damage from environmental effects. This paper considers the local temporal coherence as another means of comparing two waveforms in order to provide a quantitative measure of the change in shape of a signal compared to a reference as a function of time from transmit. Experimental results show that the local temporal coherence is effective in discriminating structural damage from both temperature changes and modest changes in surface conditions; results are compared to those obtained from time domain and spectrogram differencing. The advantages of this methodology are the simplicity of the transducers, the applicability to a wide range of structures, and the straightforward signal processing.