Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 121, Issue 3–4, pp 413–424 | Cite as

Natural and forced air temperature variability in the Labrador region of Canada during the past century

  • Robert G. WayEmail author
  • Andre E. Viau
Original Paper


Evaluation of Labrador air temperatures over the past century (1881–2011) shows multi-scale climate variability and strong linkages with ocean-atmospheric modes of variability and external forcings. The Arctic Oscillation, Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, and El Nino Southern Oscillation are shown to be the dominant seasonal and interannual drivers of regional air temperature variability for most of the past century. Several global climate models show disagreement with observations on the rate of recent warming which suggests that models are currently unable to reproduce regional climate variability in Labrador air temperature. Using a combination of empirical statistical modeling and global climate models, we show that 33 % of the variability in annual Labrador air temperatures over the period 1881–2011 can be explained by natural factors alone; however, the inclusion of anthropogenic forcing increases the explained variance to 65 %. Rapid warming over the past 17 years is shown to be linked to both natural and anthropogenic factors with several anomalously warm years being primarily linked to recent anomalies in the Arctic Oscillation and North Atlantic sea surface temperatures. Evidence is also presented that both empirical statistical models and global climate models underestimate the regional air temperature response to ocean salinity anomalies and volcanic eruptions. These results provide important insight into the predictability of future regional climate impacts for the Labrador region.


Root Mean Square Error Climate Index Mean Absolute Difference Arctic Oscillation Atlantic Multidecadal Variability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Laboratory for Paleoclimatology and Climatology, Department of GeographyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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