Distinguishing the roles of natural and anthropogenically forced decadal climate variability: Implications for prediction

Amy Solomon, Lisa Goddard, Arun Kumar, James Carton, Clara Deser, Ichiro Fukumori, Arthur M. Greene, Gabriele Hegerl, Ben Kirtman, Yochanan Kushnir, Matthew Newman, Doug Smith, Dan Vimont, Tom Delworth, Gerald A. Meehl, Timothy Stockdale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations

Abstract

Existing methodologies to separate decadal natural variability from anthropogenically forced variability, the degree to which those efforts have succeeded, and the ways in which the methods are limited or challenged by existing data, are described. The methodologies include coupled general circulation models (CGCM) used in climate change projections, signal-to-noise (S/N) maximizing EOF analysis, and linear inverse modeling (LIM). The attribution methods attempt, with uncertainty estimates, to identify the contribution of each external forcing factor to the observed change. It is known that differences in the ocean base state alter the character of natural variability by changing the advective time scale of density/salinity anomalies and pathways between the extratropics and tropics. The rate at which forecast experience will accumulate on the decadal time scale is much slower than the rate at which it accumulates for weather forecasting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-156
Number of pages16
JournalBulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Volume92
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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