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Reconciling two approaches to the detection of anthropogenic influence on climate

MPG-Autoren
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Schnur,  Reiner
The Land in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;
Global Vegetation Modelling, The Land in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Zitation

Gillett, N. P., Hegerl, G. C., Allen, M. R., Stott, P. A., & Schnur, R. (2002). Reconciling two approaches to the detection of anthropogenic influence on climate. Journal of Climate, 15(3), 326-329.


Zitierlink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-02B6-0
Zusammenfassung
Anthropogenic influences on surface temperature over the second half of the twentieth century are examined using output from two general circulation models (HadCM2 and ECHAM3). Optimal detection techniques involve the comparison of observed temperature changes with those simulated by a climate model, using a control integration to test the null hypothesis that all the observed changes are due to natural variability. Two recent studies have examined the influence of greenhouse gases and the direct effect of sulfate aerosol on surface temperature using output from the same two climate models but with many differences in the methods applied. Both detected overall anthropogenic influence on climate, but results on the separate detection of greenhouse gas and sulfate aerosol influences were different. This paper concludes that the main differences between the results can be explained by the season over which temperatures were averaged, the length of the climatology from which anomalies were taken, and the use of a time-evolving signal pattern as opposed to a spatial pattern of temperature trends. This demonstration of consistency increases confidence in the equivalence of the methodologies in other respects, and helps to synthesize results from the two approaches. Including information on the temporal evolution of the response to different forcings allows sulfate aerosol influence to be detected more easily in HadCM2, whereas focusing on spatial patterns gives better detectability in ECHAM3.