Research Article

Interpreting Differential Temperature Trends at the Surface and in the Lower Troposphere

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Science  18 Feb 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5456, pp. 1227-1232
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5456.1227

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Estimated global-scale temperature trends at Earth's surface (as recorded by thermometers) and in the lower troposphere (as monitored by satellites) diverge by up to 0.14°C per decade over the period 1979 to 1998. Accounting for differences in the spatial coverage of satellite and surface measurements reduces this differential, but still leaves a statistically significant residual of roughly 0.1°C per decade. Natural internal climate variability alone, as simulated in three state-of-the-art coupled atmosphere-ocean models, cannot completely explain this residual trend difference. A model forced by a combination of anthropogenic factors and volcanic aerosols yields surface-troposphere temperature trend differences closest to those observed.

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