Burger
Journalpaper

Atmospheric annular modes in simulations over the past millennium: No long-term response to external forcing

Abstract

This study analyzes whether the imprint of external forcings can be detected in the long-term evolution of the main atmospheric circulation patterns in climate simulations over the last millennium. The external forcing is not found to significantly add variability in any frequency band compared to control simulations where the external drivers are kept constant. Additionally, a method designed to detect a common signal in the time evolution of these circulation patterns among all simulations is proposed, and employed to demonstrate that the null hypothesis of an evolution dominated by internal variability cannot be rejected regardless of the time smoothing applied to the series. Given that the fingerprint of external forcings on atmospheric circulation has been successfully detected in simulations of the 20th century climate and in future climate change projections, we argue that either the effect of past natural forcing is too small, state-of-the-art climate models underestimate their climate sensitivity, or the anthropogenic forcing qualitatively differs from the natural forcing in its effect on main circulation patterns.
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