Updates to comparison of CMIP5 models & observations

As 2013 is nearly over, it is time for a short update to the comparisons of CMIP5 models and observations for global mean surface air temperatures. Part of the motivation for an update is the Cowtan & Way paper on spatial coverage biases in HadCRUT4, which has been given prominent attention in blogs and the media, notably the front page of The Independent. Continue reading

Posted in IPCC AR5, projections, temperature | 7 Comments

Effects of recent observed vs RCP forcings

The recent global temperature hiatus has been explained by the IPCC AR5 as partly due to natural radiative forcings (solar & volcanic effects) and internal variability. Recently, other effects such as CFCs and biases in the observational coverage have also been suggested, as well as continuing uncertainty about the regional effects of aerosol forcings. When comparing simulations and observations, the CMIP5 simulations tend to use projected forcings rather than observed forcings after 2005. But what effect does this have? Continue reading

Posted in GCMs, projections, temperature | 4 Comments

Sources of uncertainty in CMIP5 projections

The recent IPCC AR5 includes a discussion on the sources of uncertainty in climate projections (Fig. 11.8, section 11.3.1.1), which updates previous analyses using CMIP3 (temperature, precipitation) to the latest CMIP5 simulations. The dominant source of uncertainty depends on lead time, variable and spatial scale. Continue reading

Posted in GCMs, IPCC AR5, projections, temperature, uncertainty, variability, visualisation | 13 Comments

Time of emergence of a warming signal

The ‘signal’ of a warming climate is emerging against a background ‘noise’ of natural internal variability. Both the magnitude of the signal and the noise vary spatially and seasonally. As society and ecosystems tend to be somewhat adapted to natural variability, some of the impacts of any change will be felt when the signal becomes large relative to the noise. So, it is important to note where and when this might occur. Continue reading

Posted in emergence, GCMs, IPCC AR5, projections, temperature, uncertainty | 11 Comments

Near-term global surface temperature projections in IPCC AR5

The final version of the IPCC AR5 WG1 assessment on the physical basis for climate change has now been published. The AR5 includes, for the first time, a specific chapter and assessment on ‘near-term’ climate change, which covers the period up to 2050, but with a specific focus on the 2016-2035 period.

Continue reading

Posted in IPCC AR5, projections, temperature, uncertainty, variability | 25 Comments

Arctic sea ice extent in 2014

Following last year’s simple straw poll, a similar question for this year:

Will the Arctic sea ice extent for September 2014 be more or less than September 2013?

Hoping for views and expectations from public and scientists alike.

Continue reading

Posted in Arctic, predictability, sea-ice | 16 Comments

Near-term regional climate: the range of possibilities

What are the possible regional temperature trends over the coming few decades? Globally, on average, there is expected to be a long-term warming, but this is not necessarily true for any particular location or period. What are the probabilities of a local warming or cooling? Continue reading

Posted in GCMs, projections, temperature, uncertainty, variability, visualisation | 12 Comments

Recent slowdown in global surface temperature rise

The Science Media Centre recently held a briefing for journalists on the recent slowdown in global surface temperature rise, and published an accompanying briefing note. The Met Office also released three reports on the topic.

The key points were: (1) recent changes need to be put in longer term context & other climate indicators such as sea level, Arctic sea ice, snow cover, glacier melt etc are also important; (2) the explanation for recent slowdown is partly additional ocean heat uptake & partly negative trends in natural radiative forcing (due to solar changes and small volcanic eruptions) which slightly counteract the positive forcing from GHGs; (3) the quantification of the relative magnitude of these causes is still work in progress; (4) climate models simulate similar pauses. Continue reading

Posted in observations, temperature, uncertainty, variability, visualisation | 11 Comments

Lengthy simulated pauses in global mean surface temperature

A very simple question for this short post: what length pause (trend < 0) in global mean surface temperature could be simulated in a warming climate?

Continue reading

Posted in GCMs, temperature, variability | 19 Comments

Rates of change in global temperatures

The recent WMO press release on the climate of the 2001-2010 period highlighted that global temperature change was accelerating. Although this could be a misleading statement, should we even be expecting global temperature changes to be accelerating at present? Continue reading

Posted in GCMs, observations, projections, temperature, uncertainty, variability | 6 Comments

Global temperature changes in WMO report

A recent press release by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) described recent global temperature changes, and highlighted extreme weather in the 2001-2010 period. Much of the press release is good, but here I will examine the accuracy of two statements. Continue reading

Posted in temperature | 19 Comments

Comparing global temperature observations and simulations, again

A recent comparison of global temperature observations and model simulations on this blog prompted a rush of media and wider interest, notably in the Daily Mail, The Economist & in evidence to the US House of Representatives. Given the widespread misinterpretation of this comparison, often without the correct attribution or links to the original source, a more complete description & update is needed. Continue reading

Posted in observations, projections, temperature, uncertainty, variability | 45 Comments

Variable variability

The latest global climate models (GCMs) have performed pre-industrial control simulations as part of the CMIP5 coordinated experiments. In these simulations there are no changes to radiative forcings, which are kept fixed at year 1850 values – all the variability is therefore generated internally to the climate system. How different can this variability be? Continue reading

Posted in temperature, variability | 3 Comments

Global temperatures: 75 years after Callendar

Could varying concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide cause the planet to warm and cool? This was a key question facing scientists from the mid-1800s onwards – not because of a concern over man-made emissions of CO2, but because of a desire to understand the causes of the ice ages (identified by Louis Agassiz in 1837).

Then, exactly 75 years ago, in April 1938, a little appreciated scientist, Guy Stewart Callendar, presented the first evidence that the planet had recently warmed. Callendar also suggested that changes in atmospheric CO2 had caused a large part of this observed warming. A new paper reanalyses Callendar’s work to mark the 75th anniversary of his landmark study. Continue reading

Posted in history, observations, temperature, variability | 24 Comments

Reliability of regional climate trends

Climate information for the future is usually presented in the form of scenarios: plausible and consistent descriptions of future climate without probability information. This suffices for many purposes, but for the near term, say up to 2050, scenarios of emissions of greenhouse gases do not diverge much and we could work towards climate forecasts: calibrated probability distributions of the climate in the future. Continue reading

Posted in GCMs, observations, projections, temperature, uncertainty, variability | 4 Comments

Constraining projections with observations

Can past observations be used to help constrain future temperature projections? This question is particularly relevant given the last decade which has shown relatively less warming than expected. Continue reading

Posted in GCMs, observations, projections, temperature, uncertainty | 17 Comments

Updated comparison of simulations and observations

Now that 2012 is over, it is time to update a comparison of simulations and observations of global mean temperatures.

Continue reading

Posted in GCMs, observations, projections, temperature, uncertainty | 54 Comments

What will the simulations do next?

Recent conversations on the recent slowdown in warming has inspired an animation on how models simulate this phenomenon, and what it means for the evolution of global temperatures over the next few decades. Continue reading

Posted in temperature, variability, visualisation | 27 Comments

Months since below average temperatures

NOAA have recently been promoting that November 2012 was the 333rd month in a row with above average global temperatures, and this has been widely picked up by the media (e.g. here). But, how useful is this statistic? Continue reading

Posted in temperature, variability | 9 Comments

Predictions of the past & the future

What will happen to the climate over the next decade? Two new analyses consider real climate predictions made in the past and of the future decade. Continue reading

Posted in predictability, temperature | 6 Comments

Temperatures in Mongolia

I was alerted to an article on climate change in Mongolia which claims that temperatures there have already risen by more than 2C since the 1940s. A few minutes on Climate Explorer allowed me to check. Continue reading

Posted in history, temperature, variability | 4 Comments

How “weird” has UK weather been in 2012?

A recent article on the BBC website said:

The UK has experienced its “weirdest” weather on record in the past few months, scientists say.

The question today is then, is this true? Continue reading

Posted in history, precipitation, variability, weather | 6 Comments

Arctic sea ice in 2013

A very simple straw poll today – will the Arctic sea ice extent in September 2013 be more or less than September 2012? Hoping for views and expectations from public and scientists alike.

UPDATE: (06/09/12)
Around 80% of the ~100 scientists at the Bjerknes conference thought that there would be MORE Arctic sea-ice in 2013, compared to 2012. Around 40% of the ‘public’ thought there would be more (but small sample of 10!). Continue reading

Posted in Arctic, predictability, variability | 30 Comments

Visualising the role of natural variability

A new analysis by Clara Deser and colleagues (accepted for Nature Climate Change), provides some fantastic visualisations of the crucial role of natural variability in how we will experience climate. Continue reading

Posted in GCMs, projections, temperature, uncertainty, variability, visualisation | 20 Comments

Global temperatures over the past decade

It is well known that the past decade or so has seen less global warming than might have been expected – but what is the cause? This is more of a discussion post, rather than any new analysis. Continue reading

Posted in GCMs, projections, temperature, variability | 31 Comments