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



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Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales 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

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Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales 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

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Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales 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

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Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales 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

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Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales 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

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Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales 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

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Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales 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

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Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales 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

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Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales Table of Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION   5 CHAPTER 2. THE ATMOSPHERE   9     Introduction   10     Atmospheric Observations: An Essay by Thomas R. Karl   12     Documenting Natural Climatic Variations: How Different is the Climate of the Twentieth Century from That of Previous Centuries? Henry F. Diaz and Raymond S. Bradley   17     Commentary by Eugene M. Rasmusson   30     Discussion   31     Variability of African Rainfall on Interannual and Decadal Time Scales Sharon E. Nicholson   32     On the Initiation and Persistence of the Sahel Drought Jagadish Shukla   44     Discussion   47     Continental Snow Cover and Climate Variability John E. Walsh   49     Commentary by David A. Robinson   58     Discussion   59

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Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales     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

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Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales     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

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Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales     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

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Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales     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

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Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales     Maximum Rates of Projected and Actual Increases in Global Mean Temperature as Compared with Bioclimatic Fluctuations William E. Reifsnyder   572     Commentary by Soroosh Sorooshian   580     Discussion   581     Proxy Indicators of Climate Reference List   583 Chapter 6. Conclusions   599 Chapter 7. Recommendations for Climate-Variability Research Priorities   605 List of Participants   609 Index   615