Mann, Michael E., Miller, Sonya K., Rahmstorf, Stefan, Steinman, Byron A., Tingley, Martin

Geophysical Research Letters

Published date August 10, 2017

Record Temperature Streak Bears Anthropogenic Fingerprint

  • Uses a previously developed semi-empirical approach to assess the likelihood of the sequence of consecutive record-breaking temperatures in 2014, 2015, and 2016
  • Combines information from historical temperature data and state-of-the-art historical climate model simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5)
  • Finds that this sequence of record-breaking temperatures had a negligible (<0.03%) likelihood of occurrence in the absence of anthropogenic warming
  • Finds that it was still a rare but not implausible event (roughly 1-3% likelihood) taking anthropogenic warming into effect
  • Estimates the probability that three consecutive records would have been observed at some point since 2000 as ~30-50% given anthropogenic warming, and <0.7% in its absence