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Early onset of industrial-era warming across the oceans and continents


Abram, NJ and McGregor, HV and Tierney, JE and Evans, MN and McKay, NP and Kaufman, DS and Thirumalai, K and Martrat, B and Goosse, H and Phipps, SJ and Steig, EJ and Kilbourne, KH and Saenger, CP and Zinke, J and Leduc, G and Addison, JA and Mortyn, PG and Seidenkrantz, M-S and Sicre, M-A and Selvaraj, K and Filipsson, HL and Neukom, R and Gergis, J and Curran, MAJ and von Gunten, L, Early onset of industrial-era warming across the oceans and continents, Nature, 536, (7617) pp. 411-418. ISSN 0028-0836 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited

DOI: doi:10.1038/nature19082


The evolution of industrial-era warming across the continents and oceans provides a context for future climate change and is important for determining climate sensitivity and the processes that control regional warming. Here we use post-AD 1500 palaeoclimate records to show that sustained industrial-era warming of the tropical oceans first developed during the mid-nineteenth century and was nearly synchronous with Northern Hemisphere continental warming. The early onset of sustained, significant warming in palaeoclimate records and model simulations suggests that greenhouse forcing of industrial-era warming commenced as early as the mid-nineteenth century and included an enhanced equatorial ocean response mechanism. The development of Southern Hemisphere warming is delayed in reconstructions, but this apparent delay is not reproduced in climate simulations. Our findings imply that instrumental records are too short to comprehensively assess anthropogenic climate change and that, in some regions, about 180 years of industrial-era warming has already caused surface temperatures to emerge above pre-industrial values, even when taking natural variability into account.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:climate change, oceans, continents, industrial era, global warming, climate sensitivity, palaeoclimate, climate models, greenhouse gases, natural variability
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Climate change science
Research Field:Climate change processes
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Social impacts of climate change and variability
UTAS Author:Phipps, SJ (Dr Steven Phipps)
UTAS Author:Curran, MAJ (Dr Mark Curran)
ID Code:111224
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:166
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2016-09-05
Last Modified:2018-04-18

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