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Guemas: Retrospective prediction of the global warming slowdown in the past decade

2013 April 8


a–c, Global SST anomalies averaged between 60° S and 65° N and across forecast years 1–3 (a,c) and forecast years 3–5 (b). d, 3-year mean SST change along the forecasts. One large dot is shown for the ensemble mean of each forecast and small dots are shown for their members in Init (red). The equivalents in NoInit and in the observations are shown in blue and black respectively, joined by lines as they come from a continuous time series.

ABSTRACT: Despite a sustained production of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, the Earth’s mean near-surface temperature paused its rise during the 2000–2010 period1. To explain such a pause, an increase in ocean heat uptake below the superficial ocean layer2, 3 has been proposed to overcompensate for the Earth’s heat storage. Contributions have also been suggested from the deep prolonged solar minimum4, the stratospheric water vapour5, the stratospheric6 and tropospheric aerosols7. However, a robust attribution of this warming slowdown has not been achievable up to now. Here we show successful retrospective predictions of this warming slowdown up to 5 years ahead, the analysis of which allows us to attribute the onset of this slowdown to an increase in ocean heat uptake. Sensitivity experiments accounting only for the external radiative forcings do not reproduce the slowdown. The top-of-atmosphere net energy input remained in the [0.5–1] W m−2 interval during the past decade, which is successfully captured by our predictions. Most of this excess energy was absorbed in the top 700 m of the ocean at the onset of the warming pause, 65% of it in the tropical Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Our results hence point at the key role of the ocean heat uptake in the recent warming slowdown. The ability to predict retrospectively this slowdown not only strengthens our confidence in the robustness of our climate models, but also enhances the socio-economic relevance of operational decadal climate predictions.

Retrospective prediction of the global warming slowdown in the past decade
Virginie Guemas, Francisco J. Doblas-Reyes, Isabel Andreu-Burillo & Muhammad Asif
Nature Climate Change (2013) doi:10.1038/nclimate1863
Received 08 November 2012 Accepted 01 March 2013 Published online 07 April 2013

TY – JOUR
AU – Guemas, Virginie
AU – Doblas-Reyes, Francisco J.
AU – Andreu-Burillo, Isabel
AU – Asif, Muhammad
TI – Retrospective prediction of the global warming slowdown in the past decade
JA – Nature Clim. Change
PY – 2013/04/07/online
VL – advance online publication
SP –
EP –
PB – Nature Publishing Group
SN – 1758-6798
UR – http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1863
L3 – 10.1038/nclimate1863
M3 – Letter
L3 – http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nclimate1863.html#supplementary-information
ER –

Read more …
Oceans May Explain Slowdown in Climate Change (Scientific Amercian)
New Study: When You Account For The Oceans, Global Warming Continues Apace (Climate Progress)
Guemas et al. Attribute Slowed Surface Warming to the Oceans (Skeptical Science)

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