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    Investigating the recent apparent hiatus in surface temperature increases: 2. Comparison of model ensembles to observational estimates


    Thorne, Peter and Outten, Stephen and Bethke, Ingo and Seland, Oyvand (2015) Investigating the recent apparent hiatus in surface temperature increases: 2. Comparison of model ensembles to observational estimates. The Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmosphere, 120 (17). pp. 8597-8620. ISSN 2156-2202

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    Abstract

    To assess published hypotheses surrounding the recent slowdown in surface warming (hiatus), we compare five available global observational surface temperature estimates to two 30-member ensembles from the Norwegian Earth System Model (NorESM). Model ensembles are initialized in 1980 from the transient historical runs and driven with forcings used in the CMIP5 experiments and updated forcings based upon current observational understanding, described in Part 1. The ensembles’ surface temperature trends are statistically indistinguishable over 1998–2012 despite differences in the prescribed forcings. There is thus no evidence that forcing errors play a significant role in explaining the hiatus according to NorESM. The observations fall either toward the lower portion of the ensembles or, for some observational estimates and regions, outside. The exception is the Arctic where the observations fall toward the upper ensemble bounds. Observational data set choices can make a large difference to findings of consistency or otherwise. Those NorESM ensemble members that exhibit Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) trends similar to observed also exhibit comparable tropical and to some extent globalmean trends, supporting a role for El Nino Southern Oscillation in explaining the hiatus. Several ensemble members capture the marked seasonality observed in Northern Hemispheremidlatitude trends, with cooling in the wintertime and warming in the remaining seasons. Overall, we find that we cannot falsify NorESM as being capable of explaining the observed hiatus behavior. Importantly, this is not equivalent to concluding NorESM could simultaneously capture all important facets of the hiatus. Similar experiments with further, distinct, Earth System Models are required to verify our findings.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: hiatus; surface temperature increases; model ensembles to observational estimates;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units, ICARUS
    Item ID: 6468
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1002/2014JD022805
    Depositing User: Peter Thorne
    Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2015 14:08
    Journal or Publication Title: The Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmosphere
    Publisher: American Geophysical Union (AGU
    Refereed: Yes
    URI:

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