Interpreting differential temperature trends at the surface and in the lower troposphere

B. D. Santer, T. M. L. Wigley, D. J. Gaffen, L. Bengtsson, C. Doutriaux, J. S. Boyle, M. Esch, J. J. Hnilo, P. D. Jones, G. A. Meehl, E. Roeckner, K. E. Taylor, M. F. Wehner

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Abstract

Estimated global-scale temperature trends at Earth's surface (as recorded by thermometers) and in the lower troposphere (as monitored by satellites) diverge by up to 0.14°C per decade over the period 1979 to 1998. Accounting for differences in the spatial coverage of satellite and surface measurements reduces this differential, but still leaves a statistically significant residual of roughly 0.1°C per decade. Natural internal climate variability alone, as simulated in three state-of-the-art coupled atmosphere- ocean models, cannot completely explain this residual trend difference. A model forced by a combination of anthropogenic factors and volcanic aerosols yields surface-troposphere temperature trend differences closest to those observed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1227-1232
Number of pages6
JournalScience
Volume287
Issue number5456
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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