Last modified
February 29, 2000

  Seminar Abstract
Center for Data Intensive Computing



Simulations of climate change in the 20th century

Global mean surface temperatures have risen by approximately 0.6 K over the past century, with most of the warming occurring in two distinct periods: from 1925 to 1944 and from approximately 1970 to the present. We use an ensemble of coupled ocean-atmosphere model integrations to explore this warming. The model is generally able to reproduce the magnitude of the observed warming. We find that the rapid warming in the early part of the century could have resulted from a combination of human-induced greenhouse gases and an unusually large realization of internal variability of the coupled climate system involving ocean circulation changes in the North Atlantic and Arctic. The warming in the latter part of the century is more robust in nature. Using the ensemble of integrations, we assess to what degree observed regional changes of temperature in the latter part of the century are consistent with simulated changes.

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