Distinguishing the Roles of Natural and Anthropogenically Forced Decadal Climate Variability

Implications for Prediction

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  • 1 University of Colorado, and NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 NOAA/International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Palisades, New York
  • | 3 NOAA/Climate Prediction Center, Camp Springs, Maryland
  • | 4 University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, Maryland
  • | 5 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 6 NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
  • | 7 NOAA/International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Palisades, New York
  • | 8 University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • | 9 University of Miami, Miami, Florida, and Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland
  • | 10 Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Columbia University, New York, New York
  • | 11 University of Colorado, and NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 12 Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, United Kingdom
  • | 13 University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
  • | 14 NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey
  • | 15 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 16 European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, United Kingdom
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Abstract

Given that over the course of the next 10–30 years the magnitude of natural decadal variations may rival that of anthropogenically forced climate change on regional scales, it is envisioned that initialized decadal predictions will provide important information for climate-related management and adaptation decisions. Such predictions are presently one of the grand challenges for the climate community. This requires identifying those physical phenomena—and their model equivalents—that may provide additional predictability on decadal time scales, including an assessment of the physical processes through which anthropogenic forcing may interact with or project upon natural variability. Such a physical framework is necessary to provide a consistent assessment (and insight into potential improvement) of the decadal prediction experiments planned to be assessed as part of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report.

Abstract

Given that over the course of the next 10–30 years the magnitude of natural decadal variations may rival that of anthropogenically forced climate change on regional scales, it is envisioned that initialized decadal predictions will provide important information for climate-related management and adaptation decisions. Such predictions are presently one of the grand challenges for the climate community. This requires identifying those physical phenomena—and their model equivalents—that may provide additional predictability on decadal time scales, including an assessment of the physical processes through which anthropogenic forcing may interact with or project upon natural variability. Such a physical framework is necessary to provide a consistent assessment (and insight into potential improvement) of the decadal prediction experiments planned to be assessed as part of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report.

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