- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- The Cryosphere
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- 1645 to 1662
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
Uncertainty about the influence of anthropogenic radiative forcing on the position and strength of convective rainfall in the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) inhibits our ability to project future tropical hydroclimate change in a warmer world. Paleoclimatic and modeling data inform on the timescales and mechanisms of ITCZ variability; yet a comprehensive, long-term perspective remains elusive. Here, we quantify the evolution of neotropical hydroclimate over the preindustrial past millennium (850 to 1850 CE) using a synthesis of 48 paleo-records, accounting for uncertainties in paleo-archive age models. We show that an interhemispheric pattern of precipitation antiphasing occurred on multicentury timescales in response to changes in natural radiative forcing. The conventionally defined “Little Ice Age” (1450 to 1850 CE) was marked by a clear shift toward wetter conditions in the southern neotropics and a less distinct and spatiotemporally complex transition toward drier conditions in the northern neotropics. This pattern of hydroclimatic change is consistent with results from climate model simulations indicating that a relative cooling of the Northern Hemisphere caused a southward shift in the thermal equator across the Atlantic basin and a southerly displacement of the ITCZ in the tropical Americas, with volcanic forcing as the principal driver. These findings are at odds with proxy-based reconstructions of ITCZ behavior in the western Pacific basin, where changes in ITCZ width and intensity, rather than mean position, appear to have driven hydroclimate transitions over the last millennium. This reinforces the idea that ITCZ responses to external forcing are region specific, complicating projections of the tropical precipitation response to global warming.more » « less
Abstract The Atlantic multidecadal variability (AMV), a dominant mode of multidecadal variations in North Atlantic sea surface temperatures (NASST), has major impacts on global climate. Given that both internal variability and external forcing have contributed to the historical AMV, how future anthropogenic forcing may regulate the AMV is of concern but remains unclear. By analyzing observations and a large ensemble of model simulations [i.e., the Max Planck Institute Grand Ensemble (MPI-GE)], the internally generated (AMV IV ) and externally forced (AMV EX ) components of the AMV and their climatic impacts during the twenty-first century are examined. Consistent with previous findings, the AMV IV would weaken with future warming by 11%–17% in its amplitude by the end of the twenty-first century, along with reduced warming anomaly over the midlatitude North Atlantic under future warming during the positive AMV IV phases. In contrast, the AMV EX is projected to strengthen with reduced frequency under future warming. Furthermore, future AMV IV -related temperature variations would weaken over Eurasia and North Africa but strengthen over the United States, whereas AMV IV -related precipitation over parts of North America and Eurasia would weaken in a warmer climate. The AMV EX ’s impact on global precipitation would also weaken. The results provide new evidence that future anthropogenic forcing (i.e., nonlinear changes in GHGs and aerosols) under different scenarios can generate distinct multidecadal variations and influence the internally generated AMV, and that multidecadal changes in anthropogenic forcing are important for future AMV.more » « less
null (Ed.)Abstract. Simulations of climate of the last millennium (LM) show that external forcing had a major contribution to the evolution of temperatures; warmer and colder periods like the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA; ca. 950–1250 CE) and the Little Ice Age (LIA; ca. 1450–1850 CE) were critically influenced by changes in solar and volcanic activity. Even if this influence is mainly observed in terms of temperatures, evidence from simulations and reconstructions shows that other variables related to atmospheric dynamics and hydroclimate were also influenced by external forcing over some regions. In this work, simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 and Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (CMIP5/PMIP3) are analyzed to explore the influence of external forcings on the dynamical and hydrological changes during the LM at different spatial and temporal scales. Principal component (PC) analysis is used to obtain the modes of variability governing the global evolution of climate and to assess their correlation with the total external forcing at multidecadal to multicentennial timescales. For shorter timescales, a composite analysis is used to address the response to specific events of external forcing like volcanic eruptions. The results show coordinated long-term changes in global circulation patterns, which suggest expansions and contractions of the Hadley cells and latitudinal displacements of westerlies in response to external forcing. For hydroclimate, spatial patterns of drier and wetter conditions in areas influenced by the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Northern Annular Mode (NAM), and Southern Annular Mode (SAM) and alterations in the intensity and distribution of monsoons and convergence zones are consistently found. Similarly, a clear short-term response is found in the years following volcanic eruptions. Although external forcing has a greater influence on temperatures, the results suggest that dynamical and hydrological variations over the LM exhibit a direct response to external forcing at both long and short timescales that is highly dependent on the particular simulation and model.more » « less
The modern history of North Atlantic sea surface temperature shows variability coinciding with changes in air temperature and rainfall over the Northern Hemisphere. There is a debate about this variability and, in particular, whether it is internal to the ocean‐atmosphere system or is forced by external factors (natural and anthropogenic). Here we present a temperature record, obtained using the Sr/Ca ratio measured in a skeleton of a sclerosponge, that shows agreement with the instrumental record over the past 150 years as well as multidecadal temperature variability over the last 600 years. Comparison with climate simulations of the last millennium shows that large cooling events recorded, in the sclerosponge, are consistent with natural (primarily volcanic activity) and anthropogenic forcings. There are, however, multidecadal periods not connected to current estimates of external forcing over the last millennium allowing for alternative explanations, such as internally driven changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation.
Despite decades of effort to constrain equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), current best estimates still exhibit a large spread. Past studies have sought to reduce ECS uncertainty through a variety of methods including emergent constraints. One example uses global temperature variability over the past century to constrain ECS. While this method shows promise, it has been criticized for its susceptibility to the influence of anthropogenic forcing and the limited length of the instrumental record used to compute temperature variability. Here, we investigate the emergent relationship between ECS and two metrics of global temperature variability using model simulations and paleoclimate reconstructions over the last millennium (850–1999). We find empirical evidence in support of these emergent relationships. Observational constraints suggest a central ECS estimate of 2.5–2.7 K, consistent with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's consensus estimate of 3K. Moreover, they suggest ECS “likely” ranges of 1.7–3.3 K and 1.9–3.5 K.