MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library



    Human and natural influences on the changing thermal structure of the atmosphere


    Santer, Benjamin D. and Painter, Jeffrey F. and Bonfils, Celine and Mears, Carl A. and Solomon, Susan and Wigley, Tom M. and Gleckler, Peter J. and Schmidt, Gavin A. and Doutrauix, Charles and Gillett, Nathan P. and Taylor, Karl E. and Thorne, Peter and Wentz, Frank J. (2013) Human and natural influences on the changing thermal structure of the atmosphere. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110 (43). pp. 17235-17240. ISSN 1091-6490

    [img]
    Preview
    Download (1MB) | Preview


    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...



    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    Abstract

    Since the late 1970s, satellite-based instruments have monitored global changes in atmospheric temperature. These measurements reveal multidecadal tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling, punctuated by short-term volcanic signals of reverse sign. Similar long- and short-term temperature signals occur in model simulations driven by human-caused changes in atmospheric composition and natural variations in volcanic aerosols. Most previous comparisons of modeled and observed atmospheric temperature changes have used results from individual models and individual observational records. In contrast, we rely on a large multimodel archive and multiple observational datasets. We show that a human-caused latitude/altitude pattern of atmospheric temperature change can be identified with high statistical confidence in satellite data. Results are robust to current uncertainties in models and observations. Virtually all previous research in this area has attempted to discriminate an anthropogenic signal from internal variability. Here, we present evidence that a human-caused signal can also be identified relative to the larger “total” natural variability arising from sources internal to the climate system, solar irradiance changes, and volcanic forcing. Consistent signal identification occurs because both internal and total natural variability (as simulated by state-of-the-art models) cannot produce sustained global-scale tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling. Our results provide clear evidence for a discernible human influence on the thermal structure of the atmosphere

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: climate change detection; climate modeling; changing thermal structure; atmosphere;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units, ICARUS
    Item ID: 6479
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1305332110
    Depositing User: Peter Thorne
    Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2015 16:25
    Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
    Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
    Refereed: Yes
    URI:

    Repository Staff Only(login required)

    View Item Item control page

    Downloads

    Downloads per month over past year