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Comparisons of simulated and observed Northern Hemisphere temperature variations during the past millennium - selected lessons learned and problems encountered
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
2013 (English)In: Tellus. Series B, Chemical and physical meteorology, ISSN 0280-6509, E-ISSN 1600-0889, Vol. 65, 19921- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Comparison of simulated and reconstructed past climate variability within the last millennium provides an opportunity to aid the understanding and interpretation of palaeoclimate proxy data and to test hypotheses regarding external forcings, feedback mechanisms and internal climate variability under conditions close to those of the present day. Most such comparisons have been made at the Northern Hemispheric scale, of which a selection of recent results is briefly discussed here. Uncertainties in climate and forcing reconstructions, along with the simplified representations of the true climate system represented by climate models, limit our possibility to draw certain conclusions regarding the nature of forced and unforced climate variability. Additionally, hemispheric-scale temperature variations have been comparatively small, wherefore the last millennium is apparently not a particularly useful period for estimating climate sensitivity. Nevertheless, several investigators have concluded that Northern Hemispheric-scale decadal-mean temperatures in the last millennium show a significant influence from natural external forcing, where volcanic forcing is significantly detectable while solar forcing is less robustly detected. The amplitude of centennial-scale variations in solar forcing has been a subject for much debate, but current understanding of solar physics implies that these variations have been small – similar in magnitude to those within recent sunspot cycles – and thus they have not been a main driver of climate in the last millennium. This interpretation is supported by various comparisons between forced climate model simulations and temperature proxy data. Anthropogenic greenhouse gas and aerosol forcing has been detected by the end of Northern Hemispheric temperature reconstructions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 65, 19921- p.
Keyword [en]
Palaeoclimate, climate proxy data, climate models, climate forcings, external climate variability, internal climate variability, Northern Hemisphere, temperature, last millennium
National Category
Climate Research
Research subject
Physical Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-87837DOI: 10.3402/tellusb.v65i0.19921ISI: 000315278200001OAI: diva2:606817
Natural and man-made climate change. Scientific symposium and open sessions, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, May 21-23, 2012
Reconstructing Climate in the last Millennium
Swedish Research Council, 90751501
Available from: 2013-03-06 Created: 2013-02-20 Last updated: 2013-03-26Bibliographically approved

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Moberg, Anders
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