Oct 15, 2006

Climate Change Detection and Attribution: Beyond Mean Temperature Signals

Gabriele C. Hegerl, Thomas R. Karl, Myles Allen, Nathaniel L. Bindoff, Nathan Gillett, David Karoly, Xuebin Zhang, and Francis Zwiers
AMS Journal of Climate
  • Reviews outstanding issues in the detection of climate change and attribution to causes
  • States that the detection of changes in variables other than temperature, on regional scales and in climate extremes, is important for evaluating model simulations of changes in societally relevant scales and variables
  • Provides the example that sea level pressure changes are detectable but are significantly stronger in observations than the changes simulated in climate models, raising questions about simulated changes in climate dynamics
  • States that application of detection and attribution methods to ocean data focusing not only on heat storage but also on the penetration of the anthropogenic signal into the ocean interior, and its effect on global water masses, helps to increase confidence in simulated large-scale changes in the ocean
  • Concludes that to evaluate climate change signals with smaller spatial and temporal scales, improved and more densely sampled data are needed in both the atmosphere and ocean