Oct 22, 2013

Human and natural influences on the changing thermal structure of the atmosphere

Benjamin D. Santer, Jeffrey F. Painter, Céline Bonfils, Carl A. Mears, Susan Solomon, Tom M. L. Wigley, Peter J. Gleckler, Gavin A. Schmidt, Charles Doutriaux, Nathan P. Gillett, Karl E. Taylor, Peter W. Thorne, Frank J. Wentz
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • States that observational satellite data and the model-predicted response to human influence have a common latitude/altitude pattern of atmospheric temperature change
  • The key features of this pattern are global-scale tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling over the 34-y satellite temperature record
  • Shows that current climate models are highly unlikely to produce this distinctive signal pattern by internal variability alone, or in response to naturally forced changes in solar output and volcanic aerosol loadings
  • Detects a “human influence” signal in all cases, even when testing against natural variability estimates with much larger fluctuations in solar and volcanic influences than those observed since 1979
  • These results highlight the very unusual nature of observed changes in atmospheric temperature