Mar 5, 2010

Detection and attribution of climate change: a regional perspective

Peter A. Stott, Nathan P. Gillett, Gabriele C. Hegerl, David J. Karoly, Dáithí A. Stone, Xuebin Zhang, Francis Zwiers
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change
  • States that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change fourth assessment report (AR4), published in 2007 came to a more confident assessment of the causes of global temperature change than previous reports and concluded that ‘it is likely that there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent except Antarctic'
  • States that, since AR4, warming over Antarctica has also been attributed to human influence, and further evidence has accumulated attributing a much wider range of climate changes to human activities
  • Reviews evidence from a regional perspective to reflect a growing interest in understanding the regional effects of climate change, which can differ markedly across the globe
  • Sets out the methodological basis for detection and attribution and discusses the spatial scales on which it is possible to make robust attribution statements
  • Reviews the evidence showing significant human‐induced changes in regional temperatures, and for the effects of external forcings on changes in the hydrological cycle, the cryosphere, circulation changes, oceanic changes, and changes in extremes
  • Discusses future challenges for the science of attribution
  • Concludes that, to better assess the pace of change, and to understand more about the regional changes to which societies need to adapt, we will need to refine our understanding of the effects of external forcing and internal variability