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Climate Dynamics

, Volume 34, Issue 7–8, pp 1139–1156 | Cite as

Probabilistic estimates of recent changes in temperature: a multi-scale attribution analysis

  • Nikolaos ChristidisEmail author
  • Peter A. Stott
  • Francis W. Zwiers
  • Hideo Shiogama
  • Toru Nozawa
Article

Abstract

The role of anthropogenic forcings in temperature changes during recent decades is investigated over a range of spatial scales. Changes in the annual mean surface temperature and also in the warmest night of the year, which has implications for human health, are considered. Distributions of regional trends with and without the effect of human activity are produced, using constraints from a global optimal detection analysis. Anthropogenic forcings are estimated to have more than doubled the likelihood of mean warming in all regions considered except central North America, where results are more model dependent. The likelihood of warming of the warmest night has also increased, but the estimated change is more uncertain. Inferences on sub-continental scales are indicative rather than definitive because of the absence of locally important forcings and processes in model simulations, as well as model biases. As model inconsistencies may impact regional analyses, a multi-model approach is essential.

Keywords

Attribution Multi-scale Regional Multi-model Temperature extremes 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. NC and PAS were supported by the Joint DECC, Defra and MoD Integrated Climate Programme—DECC/Defra (GA01101), MoD (CBC/2B/0417_Annex C5). HS and TN were funded by the Innovative Program of Climate Change Projection for the 21st century from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, and by the Global Environment Research Fund (S-5) of the Ministry of the Environment of Japan. We thank Chris Huntingford and Myles Allen for their contribution to the development of the EIV software.

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Copyright information

© Crown Copyright 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikolaos Christidis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter A. Stott
    • 2
  • Francis W. Zwiers
    • 3
  • Hideo Shiogama
    • 4
  • Toru Nozawa
    • 4
  1. 1.Met Office Hadley CentreExeterUK
  2. 2.Met Office Hadley Centre (Reading Unit), Meteorology BuildingUniversity of ReadingReadingUK
  3. 3.Climate Research DivisionEnvironment CanadaTorontoCanada
  4. 4.National Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukubaJapan

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