Contributions of natural and anthropogenic forcing to changes in temperature extremes over the United States

Gerald A. Meehl, Julie M. Arblaster, Claudia Tebaldi

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Observations averaged over the U.S. for the second halroof the 20th century have shown a decrease of frost days, an increase in growing season length, an increase in the number of warm nights, and an increase in heat wave intensity. For the first three, a nine member multi-model ensemble shows similar changes over the U.S. in 20th century experiments that combine anthropogenic and natural forcings, though the relative contributions of each are unclear. Here we show results from two global coupled climate models run with anthropogenic and natural forcings separately. Averaged over the continental U.S., they show that the observed changes in the four temperature extremes are accounted for with anthropogenic forcings, but not with natural forcings (even though there are some differences in the details of the forcings). This indicates that most of the changes in temperature extremes over the U.S. are likely due to human activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL19709
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes

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