National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1995. Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5142.
×

Natural Climate Variability On Decade-to-Century Time Scales

Climate Research Committee

Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C. 1995

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1995. Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5142.
×

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Harold Liebowitz is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was established by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. Harold Liebowitz are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 96-67828

International Standard Book Number 0-309-05449-4

Additional copies of this report are available from:
National Academy Press
2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Box 285 Washington, DC 20055 800-624-6242 202-334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan Area)

B731

COVER: The Eye of the Storm, the oil painting reproduced on the cover of this book, is the work of Ilana Cernat of Bat-Yam, Israel. Dr. Cernat is linked to the world of intermediate-scale climate change through her son Michael Ghil, a dynamicist who has contributed substantially to our understanding of the interactions that affect climate variability. The Eye of the Storm (1989) is one of several of her paintings that express her concern for the future, particularly what sort of world we will be leaving to the generations to come. A lawyer by training and profession, Dr. Cernat began studying painting in her teens. Her work has been exhibited in Romania, Hungary, Israel, and the United States, and hangs in collections in other countries as well.

Copyright 1995 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1995. Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5142.
×

Editorial Committee for Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales

DOUGLAS G. MARTINSON (Chair),

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, New York

KIRK BRYAN,

NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey

MICHAEL GHIL,

University of California, Los Angeles

MELINDA M. HALL,

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts

THOMAS R. KARL,

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina

EDWARD S. SARACHIK,

University of Washington, Seattle

SOROOSH SOROOSHIAN,

University of Arizona, Tucson

LYNNE D. TALLEY,

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

(All members of the editorial committee for this volume are former, current, or ex officio members of the Climate Research Committee)

Staff

ELLEN F. RICE, Reports Officer

MARK BOEDO, Project Assistant

DORIS BOUADJEMI, Administrative Assistant

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1995. Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5142.
×

Climate Research Committee

ERIC J. BARRON (Chair),

Pennsylvania State University, University Park

DAVID S. BATTISTI,

University of Washington, Seattle

RUSS E. DAVIS,

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

ROBERT E. DICKINSON,

University of Arizona, Tucson

THOMAS R. KARL,

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina

JEFFREY T. KIEHL,

National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

CLAIRE L. PARKINSON,

Goddard Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Greenbelt, Maryland

STEVEN W. RUNNING,

University of Montana, Missoula

KARL E. TAYLOR,

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California

Ex Officio Members

W. LAWRENCE GATES,

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California

DOUGLAS G. MARTINSON,

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York

EDWARD S. SARACHIK,

University of Washington, Seattle

SOROOSH SOROOSHIAN,

University of Arizona, Tucson

PETER J. WEBSTER,

University of Colorado, Boulder

Staff

WILLIAM A. SPRIGG, Director

MARK HANDEL, Senior Program Officer

THERESA M. FISHER, Administrative Assistant

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1995. Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5142.
×

Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

JOHN A. DUTTON (Chair),

Pennsylvania State University, University Park

ERIC J. BARRON,

Pennsylvania State University, University Park

WILLIAM L. CHAMEIDES,

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

CRAIG E. DORMAN,

Department of Defense, Washington, D.C.

FRANCO EINAUDI,

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

MARVIN A. GELLER,

State University of New York, Stony Brook

PETER V. HOBBS,

University of Washington, Seattle

WITOLD F. KRAJEWSKI,

The University of Iowa, Iowa City

MARGARET A. LeMONE,

National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

DOUGLAS K. LILLY,

University of Oklahoma, Norman

RICHARD S. LINDZEN,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

GERALD R. NORTH,

Texas A&M University, College Station

EUGENE M. RASMUSSON,

University of Maryland, College Park

ROBERT J. SERAFIN,

National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

Staff

WILLIAM A. SPRIGG, Director

H. FRANK EDEN, Senior Program Officer

MARK HANDEL, Senior Program Officer

DAVID H. SLADE, Senior Program Officer

ELLEN F. RICE, Reports Officer

DORIS BOUADJEMI, Administrative Assistant

THERESA M. FISHER, Administrative Assistant

MARK BOEDO, Project Assistant

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1995. Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5142.
×

Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources

M. GORDON WOLMAN (Chair),

The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

PATRICK R. ATKINS,

Aluminum Company of America, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

JAMES P. BRUCE,

Canadian Climate Program Board, Ottawa, Canada

WILLIAM L. FISHER,

University of Texas, Austin

JERRY F. FRANKLIN,

University of Washington, Seattle

GEORGE M. HORNBERGER,

University of Virginia, Charlottesville

DEBRA S. KNOPMAN,

Progressive Foundation, Washington, D.C.

PERRY L. McCARTY,

Stanford University, Stanford, California

JUDITH E. McDOWELL,

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts

S. GEORGE H. PHILANDER,

Princeton University, New Jersey

RAYMOND A. PRICE,

Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario, Canada

THOMAS C. SCHELLING,

University of Maryland, College Park

ELLEN K. SILBERGELD,

University of Maryland Medical School, Baltimore

STEVEN M. STANLEY,

The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore

VICTORIA J. TSCHINKEL,

Landers and Parsons, Tallahassee, Florida

Staff

STEPHEN RATTIEN, Executive Director

STEPHEN D. PARKER, Associate Director

MORGAN GOPNIK, Assistant Director

GREGORY SYMMES, Reports Officer

JAMES MALLORY, Administrative Officer

SANDI FITZPATRICK, Administrative Associate

SUSAN SHERWIN, Project Assistant

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1995. Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5142.
×

Preface

One objective of the Climate Research Committee of the National Research Council's Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate is to promote progress in climate research through the organization of workshops and the preparation of reports. Over the course of a number of meetings and study sessions, the Committee began to recognize that climate variability on decade-to-century time scales had received significantly less attention than was warranted by its relevance to society. Much of climate research has focused either on seasonal-to-interannual climate variability, or on potential long-term climate change in response to human activities. These two research topics are of critical importance, but we cannot adequately address climate and climate change without also considering decade-to-century-scale variability.

Consequently, the CRC sponsored a workshop on Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales, which was held September 21-25, 1992. The conference was organized by CRC members Kirk Bryan, Michael Ghil, Doug Martinson, and Lynne Talley. It was generously sponsored by NOAA, NASA, DOE, and NSF, through the Climate Systems Modeling Program of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, with later assistance from EPA, USDA, the USAF Office of Scientific Research, and the Office of Naval Research. Much of the success of this workshop can be credited to the eagerness of members of the scientific community to participate and to contribute timely papers on the diverse topics that constitute this important subject.

This volume is built around the papers presented at the workshop. The organizers wished to obtain the broadest coverage of the topic possible at one meeting, recognizing that the collection of papers would be representative rather than complete and that their findings would not always be unambiguous. A commentary on each paper by its discussion leader has therefore been included, as well as an edited version of the ensuing discussion; both of these highlight uncertainties and offer additional information.

While in Irvine, the CRC selected (from among their and their panels' ranks) an expert in each of the fields represented—atmospheric and ocean observations, atmospheric and ocean models, coupled models, and proxy climate indicators—to serve as editor and first reviewer of the papers in the appropriate section of the workshop volume. To provide a context for the papers and appropriate references to germane material not covered at the workshop, the members of this editorial committee contributed an essay introducing each

Page viii Cite
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×

section. The editors, chaired by Doug Martinson, were responsible as well for initially drafting the conclusions and recommendations, and their efforts in producing this seminal volume are greatly appreciated by the CRC. We are also indebted to Ellen Rice not only for editing the papers and discussions but for seeing the volume (and its contributors) through the entire preparation, review, and production process.

The Climate Research Committee's goal was to produce a reference document on natural climate variability on decade-to-century time scales that would encourage greater interaction among the disciplines involved and between modelers and observationalists. We hope that this volume will serve as a foundation for new and stronger research programs on climate variability on these scales, which in turn will yield a broader and sounder understanding of the climate system and enhance the predictive capability that serves our society's needs.

ERIC J. BARRON, CHAIRMAN

CLIMATE RESEARCH COMMITTEE

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1995. Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5142.
×
Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1995. Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5142.
×
   

Decadal Variations of Snow Cover
David A. Robinson

 

60

   

Variability and Trends of Precipitation and Snowfall over North America
Pavel Ya. Groisman and David R. Easterling

 

67

   

Commentary
by David A. Robinson

 

77

   

Discussion

 

79

   

Asymmetric Trends of Daily Maximum and Minimum Temperature: Empirical Evidence and Possible Causes
Thomas R. Karl, Philip D. Jones, Richard W. Knight, George Kukla, Neil Plummer, Vyacheslav Razuvayev, Kevin P. Gallo, Janette A. Lindesay, and Robert J. Charlson

 

80

   

Discussion

 

95

   

Decadal Oscillations in Global Temperature and Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
Charles D. Keeling and Timothy P. Whorf

 

97

   

Discussion

 

110

   

Observed Variability of the Southern Hemisphere Atmospheric Circulation
David J. Karoly

 

111

   

Commentary
by David E. Parker

 

119

   

Discussion

 

119

   

Surface Climate Variations over the North Atlantic Ocean During Winter, 1900-1989
Clara Deser and Maurice L. Blackmon

 

120

   

Commentary
by Lawrence A. Mysak

 

130

   

Discussion

 

132

   

Seasonal-to-Interannual Fluctuations in Surface Temperature over the Pacific: Effects of Monthly Winds and Heat Fluxes
Daniel R. Cayan, Arthur J. Miller, Tim P. Barnett, Nicholas E. Graham, Jack N. Ritchie, and Josef M. Oberhuber

 

133

   

Commentary
by Stephen E. Zebiak

 

148

   

Discussion

 

149

   

Atmospheric Observations Reference List

 

151

 

 

Atmospheric Modeling: An Essay
by Michael Ghil

 

164

   

Modeling Low-Frequency Climate Variability: The Greenhouse Effect and the Interpretation of Paleoclimatic Data
Tom M.L. Wigley and Sarah C.B. Raper

 

169

   

Discussion

 

174

   

Detection of Forced Climate Signals
Gerald R. North and Kwang-Yul Kim

 

175

   

Discussion

 

181

   

Constraining Possibilities Versus Signal Detection
Richard S. Lindzen

 

182

   

Modeling the Possible Causes of Decadal-to-Millennial-Scale Variability
David H. Rind and Jonathan T. Overpeck

 

187

   

Commentary
by John M. Wallace

 

197

   

Discussion

 

198

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1995. Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5142.
×
   

Natural and Forced Variability in the Climate Record
John M. Wallace

 

199

   

Commentary
by Henry F. Diaz

 

208

   

Discussion

 

209

   

Atmospheric Modeling Reference List

 

211

Chapter 3.
The Ocean

 

233

 

 

Introduction

 

234

 

 

Ocean Observations: An Essay
by Melinda M. Hall

 

236

   

Marine Surface Data for Analysis of Climatic Fluctuations on Interannual-to-Century Time Scales
David E. Parker, Chris K. Folland, Alison C. Bevan, M. Neil Ward, Michael Jackson, and Kathy Maskell

 

241

   

Commentary
by Thomas L. Delworth

 

251

   

Discussion

 

252

   

Decadal-Scale Variability of Ice Cover and Climate in the Arctic Ocean and Greenland and Iceland Seas
Lawrence A. Mysak

 

253

   

Commentary
by Douglas G. Martinson

 

262

   

Discussion

 

262

   

Long-Term Sea-Level Variation
Bruce C. Douglas

 

264

   

Commentary
by Michael Ghil

 

270

   

Discussion

 

272

   

Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate (summary of dinner remarks)
Walter H. Munk

 

273

   

Transient Tracers as a Tool to Study Variability of Ocean Circulation
Peter Schlosser and William M. Smethie, Jr.

 

274

   

Commentary
by James H. Swift

 

288

   

Discussion

 

288

   

A Few Notes on a Recent Deep-Water Freshening
James H. Swift

 

290

   

The Salinity Decrease in the Labrador Sea over the Past Thirty Years
John R.N. Lazier

 

295

   

Commentary
by Lynne D. Talley

 

302

   

Discussion

 

303

   

The Local, Regional, and Global Significance of Exchanges through the Denmark Strait and Irminger Sea
Robert R. Dickson

 

305

   

Discussion

 

317

   

Observational Evidence of Decadal-Scale Variability of the North Atlantic Ocean
Sydney Levitus, John I. Antonov, Zhou Zengxi, Harry Dooley, Vladimir Tsereschenkov, Konstantin Selemenov, and Anthony F. Michaels

 

318

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1995. Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5142.
×
   

Commentary
by John R.N. Lazier

 

325

   

Discussion

 

326

   

Ocean Observations Reference List

 

328

 

 

Ocean Modeling: An Essay
by Kirk Bryan

 

336

   

Sub-Grid-Scale Parameterizations in Oceanic General-Circulation Models
James C. McWilliams

 

339

   

Commentary
by Kirk Bryan

 

353

   

Discussion

 

353

   

A Stochastic Model of North Atlantic Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales
Kirk Bryan and Frank C. Hansen

 

355

   

Discussion

 

363

   

Decadal-to-Millennial Internal Oceanic Variability in Coarse-Resolution Ocean General-Circulation Models
Andrew J. Weaver

 

365

   

Commentary
by Edward S. Sarachik

 

381

   

Discussion

 

382

   

Thermohaline Circulations and Variability in a Two-Hemisphere Sector Model of the Atlantic
David McDermott and Edward S. Sarachik

 

384

   

Commentary
by Michael Ghil

 

396

   

Discussion

 

397

   

Low-Frequency Ocean Variability Induced by Stochastic Forcing of Various Colors
Tim P. Barnett, Ming Chu, Robert W. Wilde, and Uwe Mikolajewicz

 

398

   

Commentary
by Kevin E. Trenberth

 

406

   

Discussion

 

406

   

Ocean Modeling Reference List

 

408

Chapter 4.
Coupled Systems

 

413

 

 

An Essay
by Edward S. Sarachik

 

414

   

Decade-to-Century Time-Scale Variability in the Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean System: Modeling Issues
David S. Battisti

 

419

   

Commentary
by Gerald R. North

 

430

   

Discussion

 

431

   

North Atlantic Interdecadal Variability in a Coupled Model
Thomas L. Delworth, Syukuro Manabe, and Ronald J. Stouffer

 

432

   

Commentary
by Stephen E. Zebiak

 

439

   

Discussion

 

440

   

Model Studies of the Long-Term Behavior of ENSO
Mark A. Cane, Stephen E. Zebiak, and Yan Xue

 

442

   

Commentary
by S. George H. Philander

 

456

   

Discussion

 

456

Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1995. Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5142.
×
   

Secular Variability of the ENSO Cycle
Eugene M. Rasmusson, Xueliang Wang, and Chester F. Ropelewski

 

458

   

Commentary
by Yochanan Kushnir

 

470

   

Discussion

 

470

   

Decadal Climate Variations in the Pacific
Kevin E. Trenberth and James W. Hurrell

 

472

   

Commentary
by Yochanan Kushnir

 

481

   

Discussion

 

482

   

Coupled Systems Reference List

 

483

Chapter 5.
Proxy Indicators of Climate

 

489

 

 

An Essay
by Soroosh Sorooshian and Douglas G. Martinson

 

490

   

Monitoring the Tropical Ocean and Atmosphere Using Chemical Records from Long-Lived Corals
Julia E. Cole, Richard G. Fairbanks, and Glen T. Shen

 

495

   

Commentary
by Clara Deser

 

504

   

Discussion

 

505

   

Natural Variability of Tropical Climates on 10- to 100-Year Time Scales: Limnological and Paleolimnological Evidence
F. Alayne Street-Perrott

 

506

   

Decade-to-Century-Scale Variability of Regional and Hemispheric-Scale Temperatures
Philip D. Jones and Keith R. Briffa

 

512

   

Commentary
by Thomas R. Karl

 

520

   

Discussion

 

521

   

Interdecadal Temperature Oscillations in the Southern Hemisphere: Evidence from Tasmanian Tree Rings Since 300 B.C.
Edward R. Cook, Brendan M. Buckley, and Rosanne D. D'Arrigo

 

523

   

Commentary
by William E. Reifsnyder

 

531

   

Discussion

 

532

   

Variability of Atlantic Circulation on Sub-Millennial Time Scales
Scott J. Lehman

 

533

   

Commentary
by Julia E. Cole

 

542

   

Discussion

 

542

   

Ice Cores as Archives of Decade-to-Century-Scale Climate Variability
Pieter M. Grootes

 

544

   

Discussion

 

554

   

Temporal Change in Marine Ecosystems
John A. McGowan

 

555

   

Commentary
by Robert R. Dickson

 

568

   

Discussion

 

571

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1995. Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5142.
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This volume reflects the current state of scientific knowledge about natural climate variability on decade-to-century time scales. It covers a wide range of relevant subjects, including the characteristics of the atmosphere and ocean environments as well as the methods used to describe and analyze them, such as proxy data and numerical models. They clearly demonstrate the range, persistence, and magnitude of climate variability as represented by many different indicators. Not only do natural climate variations have important socioeconomic effects, but they must be better understood before possible anthropogenic effects (from greenhouse gas emissions, for instance) can be evaluated. A topical essay introduces each of the disciplines represented, providing the nonscientist with a perspective on the field and linking the papers to the larger issues in climate research. In its conclusions section, the book evaluates progress in the different areas and makes recommendations for the direction and conduct of future climate research. This book, while consisting of technical papers, is also accessible to the interested layperson.

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