, Volume 38, Issue 9-10, pp 1695-1702,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 07 Apr 2011

Consistency of observed near surface temperature trends with climate change projections over the Mediterranean region

Abstract

We examine the possibility that anthropogenic forcing (Greenhouse gases and Sulfate aerosols, GS) is a plausible explanation for the observed near-surface temperature trends over the Mediterranean area. For this purpose, we compare annual and seasonal observed trends in near-surface temperature over the period from 1980 to 2009 with the response to GS forcing estimated from 23 models derived from CMIP3 database. We find that there is less than a 5% chance that natural (internal) variability is responsible for the observed annual and seasonal area-mean warming except in winter. Using additionally two pattern similarity statistics, pattern correlation and regression, we find that the large-scale component (spatial-mean) of the GS signal is detectable (at 2.5% level) in all seasons except in winter. In contrast, we fail to detect the small-scale component (spatial anomalies about the mean) of GS signal in observed trend patterns. Further, we find that the recent trends are significantly (at 2.5% level) consistent with all the 23 GS patterns, except in summer and spring, when 9 and 5 models respectively underestimate the observed warming. Thus, we conclude that GS forcing is a plausible explanation for the observed warming in the Mediterranean region. Consistency of observed trends with climate change projections indicates that present trends may be understood of what will come more so in the future, allowing for a better communication of the societal challenges to meet in the future.