Climate Dynamics

, Volume 36, Issue 3–4, pp 509–521

The role of natural climatic variation in perturbing the observed global mean temperature trend

Article

Abstract

Controversy continues to prevail concerning the reality of anthropogenically-induced climatic warming. One of the principal issues is the cause of the hiatus in the current global warming trend. There appears to be a widely held view that climatic change warming should exhibit an inexorable upwards trend, a view that implies there is no longer any input by climatic variability in the existing climatic system. The relative roles of climatic change and climatic variability are examined here using the same coupled global climatic model. For the former, the model is run using a specified CO2 growth scenario, while the latter consisted of a multi-millennial simulation where any climatic variability was attributable solely to internal processes within the climatic system. It is shown that internal climatic variability can produce global mean surface temperature anomalies of ±0.25 K and sustained positive and negative anomalies sufficient to account for the anomalous warming of the 1940s as well as the present hiatus in the observed global warming. The characteristics of the internally-induced negative temperature anomalies are such that if this internal natural variability is the cause of the observed hiatus, then a resumption of the observed global warming trend is to be expected within the next few years.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric ResearchAspendaleAustralia

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