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Observed emergence of the climate change signal: from the familiar to the unknown

Hawkins, E., Frame, D., Harrington, L., Joshi, M., King, A., Rojas, M. and Sutton, R. (2020) Observed emergence of the climate change signal: from the familiar to the unknown. Geophysical Research Letters, 47 (6). e2019GL086259. ISSN 0094-8276

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/2019GL086259

Abstract/Summary

Changes in climate are usually considered in terms of trends or differences over time. However, for many impacts requiring adaptation, it is the amplitude of the change relative to the local amplitude of climate variability which is more relevant. Here, we develop the concept of ‘signal-to-noise’ in observations of local temperature, highlighting that many regions are already experiencing a climate which would be ‘unknown’ by late 19th century standards. The emergence of observed temperature changes over both land and ocean is clearest in tropical regions, in contrast to the regions of largest change which are in the northern extra-tropics – broadly consistent with climate model simulations. Significant increases and decreases in rainfall have also already emerged in different regions with the UK experiencing a shift towards more extreme rainfall events, a signal which is emerging more clearly in some places than the changes in mean rainfall.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:88804
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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