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Distinguishing the Roles of Natural and Anthropogenically Forced Decadal Climate Variability

Implications for Prediction

Amy SolomonUniversity of Colorado, and NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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Lisa GoddardNOAA/International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Palisades, New York

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Arun KumarNOAA/Climate Prediction Center, Camp Springs, Maryland

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James CartonUniversity of Maryland, College Park, College Park, Maryland

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Clara DeserNational Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Ichiro FukumoriNASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

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Arthur M. GreeneNOAA/International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Palisades, New York

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Gabriele HegerlUniversity of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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Ben KirtmanUniversity of Miami, Miami, Florida, and Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland

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Yochanan KushnirLamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Columbia University, New York, New York

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Matthew NewmanUniversity of Colorado, and NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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Doug SmithMet Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, United Kingdom

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Dan VimontUniversity of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin

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Tom DelworthNOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey

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Gerald A. MeehlNational Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Timothy StockdaleEuropean 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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