Climate Change

Seeing the human hand

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Science  16 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6381, pp. 1228-1229
DOI: 10.1126/science.359.6381.1228-g

Environmental temperature changes occur both naturally and because of human activity (anthropogenic global warming), and distinguishing those two types is difficult. Wills et al. present a method that can be used to make that distinction for Pacific sea surface temperatures, which allows them to identify the separate effects of global warming, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation. They do this on the basis of differences in time scale and spatial pattern, which enables them to circumvent the use of climate models. Among other results, they find that midlatitude PDO anomalies are more persistent than previously thought.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 10.1002/2017GL076327 (2018).

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