Determining the likelihood of pauses and surges in global warming

Andrew P. Schurer*, Gabriele C. Hegerl, Stephen P. Obrochta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The recent warming "hiatus" is subject to intense interest, with proposed causes including natural forcing and internal variability. Here we derive samples of all natural and internal variability from observations and a recent proxy reconstruction to investigate the likelihood that these two sources of variability could produce a hiatus or rapid warming in surface temperature. The likelihood is found to be consistent with that calculated previously for models and exhibits a similar spatial pattern, with an Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation-like structure, although with more signal in the Atlantic than in model patterns. The number and length of events increases if natural forcing is also considered, particularly in the models. From the reconstruction it can be seen that large eruptions, such as Mount Tambora in 1815, or clusters of eruptions, may result in a hiatus of over 20years, a finding supported by model results.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Early online date16 Jul 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2015

Keywords

  • Natural climate variability

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