Detection of human influences on temperature seasonality from the nineteenth century

Jianping Duan, Zhuguo Ma, Peili Wu, Elena Xoplaki, Gabriele Hegerl, Lun Li, Andrew Schurer, Dabo Guan, Liang Chen, Yawen Duan, Jürg Luterbacher

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It has been widely reported that anthropogenic warming is detectable with high confidence after the 1950s. However, current palaeoclimate records suggest an earlier onset of industrial-era warming. Here, we combine observational data, multiproxy palaeo records and climate model simulations for a formal detection and attribution study. Instead of the traditional approach to the annual mean temperature change, we focus on changes in temperature seasonality (that is, the summer-minus-winter temperature difference) from the regional to whole Northern Hemisphere scales. We show that the detectable weakening of temperature seasonality, which started synchronously over the northern mid–high latitudes since the late nineteenth century, can be attributed to anthropogenic forcing. Increased greenhouse gas concentrations are the main contributors over northern high latitudes, while sulfate aerosols are the major contributors over northern mid-latitudes. A reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution is expected to mitigate the weakening of temperature seasonality and its potential ecological effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-490
JournalNature Sustainability
Early online date22 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

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