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Sci Rep. 2016 Jan 11;6:19110. doi: 10.1038/srep19110.

Future Warming Patterns Linked to Today's Climate Variability.

Dai A1,2.

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Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University at Albany, SUNY, Albany, 1400 Washington Avenue, NY 12222, USA.
National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, PO Box 3000, CO 80307, USA.


The reliability of model projections of greenhouse gas (GHG)-induced future climate change is often assessed based on models' ability to simulate the current climate, but there has been little evidence that connects the two. In fact, this practice has been questioned because the GHG-induced future climate change may involve additional physical processes that are not important for the current climate. Here I show that the spatial patterns of the GHG-induced future warming in the 21(st) century is highly correlated with the patterns of the year-to-year variations of surface air temperature for today's climate, with areas of larger variations during 1950-1979 having more GHG-induced warming in the 21(st) century in all climate models. Such a relationship also exists in other climate fields such as atmospheric water vapor, and it is evident in observed temperatures from 1950-2010. The results suggest that many physical processes may work similarly in producing the year-to-year climate variations in the current climate and the GHG-induced long-term changes in the 21(st) century in models and in the real world. They support the notion that models that simulate present-day climate variability better are likely to make more reliable predictions of future climate change.

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