Probabilistic estimates of recent changes in temperature: A multi-scale attribution analysis

Nikolaos Christidis, Peter A. Stott, Francis W. Zwiers, Hideo Shiogama, Toru Nozawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The role of anthropogenic forcings in temperature changes during recent decades is investigated over a range of spatial scales. Changes in the annual mean surface temperature and also in the warmest night of the year, which has implications for human health, are considered. Distributions of regional trends with and without the effect of human activity are produced, using constraints from a global optimal detection analysis. Anthropogenic forcings are estimated to have more than doubled the likelihood of mean warming in all regions considered except central North America, where results are more model dependent. The likelihood of warming of the warmest night has also increased, but the estimated change is more uncertain. Inferences on sub-continental scales are indicative rather than definitive because of the absence of locally important forcings and processes in model simulations, as well as model biases. As model inconsistencies may impact regional analyses, a multi-model approach is essential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1139-1156
Number of pages18
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Attribution
  • Multi-model
  • Multi-scale
  • Regional
  • Temperature extremes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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