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Science. 2003 Jul 25;301(5632):479-83.

Contributions of anthropogenic and natural forcing to recent tropopause height changes.

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  • 1Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94550, USA.


Observations indicate that the height of the tropopause-the boundary between the stratosphere and troposphere-has increased by several hundred meters since 1979. Comparable increases are evident in climate model experiments. The latter show that human-induced changes in ozone and well-mixed greenhouse gases account for approximately 80% of the simulated rise in tropopause height over 1979-1999. Their primary contributions are through cooling of the stratosphere (caused by ozone) and warming of the troposphere (caused by well-mixed greenhouse gases). A model-predicted fingerprint of tropopause height changes is statistically detectable in two different observational ("reanalysis") data sets. This positive detection result allows us to attribute overall tropopause height changes to a combination of anthropogenic and natural external forcings, with the anthropogenic component predominating.

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