Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/78662
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Type: Journal article
Title: Identifying human influences on atmospheric temperature
Author: Santer, B.
Painter, J.
Mears, C.
Doutriaux, C.
Caldwell, P.
Arblaster, J.
Cameron-Smith, P.
Gillett, N.
Gleckler, P.
Lanzante, J.
Perlwitz, J.
Solomon, S.
Stott, P.
Taylor, K.
Terray, L.
Thorne, P.
Wehner, M.
Wentz, F.
Wigley, T.
Wilcox, L.
et al.
Citation: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2013; 110(1):26-33
Publisher: Natl Acad Sciences
Issue Date: 2013
ISSN: 0027-8424
1091-6490
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Benjamin D. Santer, Jeffrey F. Painter, Carl A. Mears, Charles Doutriaux, Peter Caldwell, Julie M. Arblaster, Philip J. Cameron-Smith, Nathan P. Gillett, Peter J. Gleckler, John Lanzante, Judith Perlwitz, Susan Solomon, Peter A. Stott, Karl E. Taylor, Laurent Terray, Peter W. Thorne, Michael F. Wehner, Frank J. Wentz, Tom M. L. Wigley, Laura J. Wilcox, and Cheng-Zhi Zou
Abstract: We perform a multimodel detection and attribution study with climate model simulation output and satellite-based measurements of tropospheric and stratospheric temperature change. We use simulation output from 20 climate models participating in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project. This multimodel archive provides estimates of the signal pattern in response to combined anthropogenic and natural external forcing (the fingerprint) and the noise of internally generated variability. Using these estimates, we calculate signal-to-noise (S/N) ratios to quantify the strength of the fingerprint in the observations relative to fingerprint strength in natural climate noise. For changes in lower stratospheric temperature between 1979 and 2011, S/N ratios vary from 26 to 36, depending on the choice of observational dataset. In the lower troposphere, the fingerprint strength in observations is smaller, but S/N ratios are still significant at the 1% level or better, and range from three to eight. We find no evidence that these ratios are spuriously inflated by model variability errors. After removing all global mean signals, model fingerprints remain identifiable in 70% of the tests involving tropospheric temperature changes. Despite such agreement in the large-scale features of model and observed geographical patterns of atmospheric temperature change, most models do not replicate the size of the observed changes. On average, the models analyzed underestimate the observed cooling of the lower stratosphere and overestimate the warming of the troposphere. Although the precise causes of such differences are unclear, model biases in lower stratospheric temperature trends are likely to be reduced by more realistic treatment of stratospheric ozone depletion and volcanic aerosol forcing.
Keywords: climate change detection and attribution; climate modeling; multimodel analysis
Rights: © Authors
RMID: 0020124663
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1210514109
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications
Environment Institute Leaders publications

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