, Volume 125, Issue 1-4, pp 199-211

Detection and attribution of climate change, and understanding solar influence on climate

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The detection of externally-forced climate change in observations, and its attribution to specific forcings, sounds simple enough to some people, but with others it has a reputation as a complex and arcane specialism. In fact, both these impressions have some truth - in principle it is no more than regressing expected patterns of climate change (normally obtained from GCM sim-ulations forced with observed or reconstructed past forcings) against the corresponding observa-tions, with uncertainty estimates that try to be as rigorous as possible, but there are many technical complexities.

This survey begins with some motivating examples, and then summarizes the principles, problems and procedure without formal mathematics, before surveying results with an emphasis on possible solar effects, and why they are particularly problematic.