Dynamic Contribution to Hemispheric Mean Temperature Trends

Science  03 Nov 1995:
Vol. 270, Issue 5237, pp. 780-783
DOI: 10.1126/science.270.5237.780


On the basis of land station data from the Northern Hemisphere, it was determined that roughly half of the temporal variance of monthly mean hemispheric mean anomalies in surface air temperature during the period from 1900 through 1990 were linearly related to the amplitude of a distinctive spatial pattern in which the oceans are anomalously cold and the continents are anomalously warm poleward of 40 degrees north when the hemisphere is warm. Apart from an upward trend since 1975, to which El Niño has contributed, the amplitude time series associated with this pattern resembles seasonally dependent white noise. It is argued that the variability associated with this pattern is dynamically induced and is not necessarily an integral part of the fingerprint of global warming.