Recent warming inconsistent with natural association between temperature and atmospheric circulation over the last 2000 years
P. A. Mayewski and K. A. Maasch
Climate Change Institute, Bryand Global Sciences Building, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469, USA
Received: 11 Nov 2005 – Discussion started: 30 Jun 2006
Abstract. Comparison between proxies for atmospheric circulation and temperature reveals associations over the last few decades that are inconsistent with those of the past 2000 years. Notably, patterns of middle to high latitude atmospheric circulation in both hemispheres are still within the range of variability of the last 6–10 centuries while, as demonstrated by Mann and Jones (2003), Northern Hemisphere temperatures over recent decades are the highest of the last 2000 years. Further, recent temperature change precedes change in middle to high latitude atmospheric circulation unlike the two most notable changes in climate of the past 2000 years during which change in atmospheric circulation preceded or coincided with change in temperature. In addition, the most prominent change in Southern Hemisphere temperature and atmospheric circulation of the past 2000, and probably 9000 years, precedes change in temperature and atmospheric circulation in the Northern Hemisphere unlike the recent change in Northern Hemisphere temperature that leads. These findings provide new verification that recent rise in temperature is inconsistent with natural climate variability and is most likely related to anthropogenic activity in the form of enhanced greenhouse gases.
From our investigation we conclude that the delayed warming over much of the Southern Hemisphere may be, in addition to other factors, a consequence of underpinning by natural climate variability. Further bipolar comparison of proxy records of atmospheric circulation demonstrates that change in atmospheric circulation in the Southern Hemisphere led by 400 years, the most abrupt change in Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation of the last 9000 years. This finding may be highly relevant to understanding a future when warming becomes more fully established in the Southern Hemisphere.
Mayewski, P. A. and Maasch, K. A.: Recent warming inconsistent with natural association between temperature and atmospheric circulation over the last 2000 years, Clim. Past Discuss., 2, 327-355, doi:10.5194/cpd-2-327-2006, 2006.