Nov 24, 2015

Changes in the geopotential height at 500 hPa under the influence of external climatic forcings

Nikolaos Christidis, Peter A. Stott
Geophysical Research Letters
  • States that, apart from global scale surface warming, anthropogenic forcings also lead to warming and thermal expansion of the lower atmosphere
  • Investigates these effects using the geopotential height at 500 hPa, an indicator of the combined thermodynamic and dynamic climatic response to external forcings
  • Employs optimal fingerprinting, which uses information from reanalysis data sets and experiments with seven state‐of‐the‐art climate models, to assess the role of anthropogenic and natural influences on changes in the geopotential height during the satellite era
  • Detects a significant global increase in the annual and seasonal mean geopotential height due to human influence, a result confirmed with four different reanalysis data sets
  • Detects a more moderate increase in the annual mean associated with natural forcings
  • The findings, consistent with previous detection and attribution studies of changes in temperature and sea level pressure, indicate the prominent role of human influence on some recent climatic changes