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Decadal variations in the global atmospheric land temperatures Public Deposited

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  • Interannual to decadal variations in Earth global temperature estimates have often been identified with El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. However, we show that variability on time scales of 2-15 years in mean annual global land surface temperature anomalies T-avg are more closely correlated with variability in sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic. In particular, the cross-correlation of annually averaged values of T-avg with annual values of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) index is much stronger than that of T-avg with ENSO. The pattern of fluctuations in T-avg from 1950 to 2010 reflects true climate variability and is not an artifact of station sampling. A world map of temperature correlations shows that the association with AMO is broadly distributed and unidirectional. The effect of El Nino on temperature is locally stronger, but can be of either sign, leading to less impact on the global average. We identify one strong narrow spectral peak in the AMO at period 9.10.4 years and p value of 1.7% (confidence level, 98.3%). Variations in the flow of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation may be responsible for some of the 2-15 year variability observed in global land temperatures.
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  • Muller, R. A., Curry, J., Groom, D., Jacobsen, R., Perlmutter, S., Rohde, R., . . . Wurtele, J. (2013). Decadal variations in the global atmospheric land temperatures. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 118(11), 5280-5286. doi:10.1002/jgrd.50458
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  • This work was done as part of the Berkeley Earth project, organized under the auspices of the Novim Group (www. Novim.org). We thank many organizations for their support, including the Lee and Juliet Folger Fund, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the William K. Bowes Jr. Foundation, the Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research (created by Bill Gates), the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, and three private individuals (M.D., N.G., and M.D.).
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