Hui Wan, Xuebin Zhang, Francis Zwiers, Seung-Ki Min

Climate Dynamics

Published date November 28, 2014

Attributing northern high-latitude precipitation change over the period 1966–2005 to human influence

  • States that high latitude precipitation has showed an increase in various datasets
  • States that an increase in high latitude precipitation is also a robust feature of climate model projected precipitation response to anthropogenic forcing in the future
  • Uses an optimal fingerprinting method and improved observations and compares observed and CMIP5 model simulated annual, cold season and warm season (semi-annual) precipitation over northern high-latitude (north of 50°N) land over 1966–2005
  • Finds that the multi-model simulated responses to the effect of anthropogenic forcing or the effect of anthropogenic and natural forcing combined are consistent with observed changes
  • Finds that the influence of anthropogenic forcing may be separately detected from that of natural forcings, though the effect of natural forcing cannot be robustly detected
  • This study confirms early findings that anthropogenic influence in high-latitude precipitation is detectable
  • Improving over previous studies, the evidence now indicates that the models do not underestimated observed changes
  • Hypothesizes that the difference in the latter aspect is most likely due to improvement in the spatial–temporal coverage of the data used in this study, as well as the details of data processing procedures

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