Late Twentieth-Century Warming and Variations in Cloud Cover

Download Download as PDF (Size:4457KB)  HTML   XML  PP. 727-742  
DOI: 10.4236/acs.2014.44066    5,129 Downloads   8,657 Views   Citations
Author(s)    Leave a comment


From 1950 to 1987 a strong relationship existed between the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and HadCRUT4 global average temperature anomaly, interrupted occasionally by volcanic erup-tions. After 1987 the relationship diverged, with temperature anomaly increasing more than ex-pected, but was re-established after 1997 at an offset of ~0.48°C higher. The period of increased warming from 1987 to 1997 loosely coincided with the divergence of the global average tempera-ture anomalies over land, which are derived from observation station recordings, and the global average anomalies in sea surface temperatures. Land-based temperatures averaged 0.04°C below sea temperatures for the period 1950 to 1987 but after 1997 averaged 0.41°C above sea tempera-tures. The increase in the global average temperature anomaly and the divergence of land and sea surface temperatures also coincided with two significant changes in global average cloud cover. Total cloud cover decreased during the period from 1987 to 1997 and, for most of the remainder of the period from 1984 to 2009, decreases in low-level cloud were accompanied by increases in middle and upper level cloud. These changes can be found in both global average cloud cover and in each of the six 30°C-latitude bands. The impact of these changes in cloud cover can account for the variations in HadCRUT4 global average temperature anomalies and the divergence between land and sea temperatures.

Cite this paper

McLean, J. (2014) Late Twentieth-Century Warming and Variations in Cloud Cover. Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 4, 727-742. doi: 10.4236/acs.2014.44066.


[1] IPCC (2013) Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. In: Stocker, T.F., Qin, D., Plattner, G.-K., Tignor, M., Allen, S.K., Boschung, J., Nauels, A., Xia, Y., Bex, V. and Midgley, P.M., Eds., Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, USA, 1535 p.
[2] IPCC (2007) Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. In: Solomon, S., Qin, D., Manning, M., Chen, Z., Marquis, M., Averyt, K.B., Tignor, M. and Miller, H.L., Eds., Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, USA, 996 p.
[3] Hartmann, D.L., Moy, L.A. and Fu, Q. (2001) Tropical Convection and the Energy Balance at the Top of the Atmosphere. Journal of Climate, 14, 4495-4511.<4495:TCATEB>2.0.CO;2
[4] Keihl, J.T. (1994) On the Observed near Cancellation between Longwave and Shortwave Cloud Forcing in Tropical Regions. Journal of Climate, 7, 559-565.<0559:OTONCB>2.0.CO;2
[5] Goode, P.R. and Pallé, E. (2007) Shortwave Forcing of the Earth’s Climate: Modern and Historical Variations in the Sun’s Irradiance and the Earth’s Reflectance. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 69, 1556-1568.
[6] Herman, J., DeLand, M.T., Huang, L.-K., Labow, G., Larko, D., Lloyd, S.A., Mao, J., Qin, W. and Weaver, C. (2012) A Net Decrease in the Earth’s Cloud, Aerosol, and Surface 340 nm Reflectivity during the Past 33 yr (1979-2011). Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 13, 8505-8524.
[7] Kauppinen, J., Heinonen, J. and Malmi, P. (2014) Influence of Relative Humidity and Clouds on the Global Mean Surface Temperature. Energy and Environment, 25, 389-400.
[8] Eastman, R. and Warren, S.G. (2011) Variation in Cloud Cover and Cloud Types over the Ocean from Surface Observations, 1954-2008. Journal of Climate, 24, 5914-5934.
[9] Eastman, R., Warren, S.G. and Hahn, C.J. (2013) A 39-yr Survey of Cloud Changes from Land Stations Worldwide 1971-2009: Long-Term Trends, Relation to Aerosols, and Expansion of the Tropical Belt. Journal of Climate, 26, 1286-1303.
[10] Rossow, W.B. and Schiffer, R.A. (1991) ISCCP Cloud Data Products. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 72, 2-20.<0002:ICDP>2.0.CO;2
[11] Troup, A.J. (1965) The “Southern Oscillation”. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 91, 490-506.
[12] Lamb, H.H. (1970) Volcanic Dust in the Atmosphere; with a Chronology and Assessment of Its Meteorological Significance. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series A, 266, 425-533.
[13] Lamb, H.H. (1977) Supplementary Volcanic Dust Veil Assessments. Climate Monitor, 6, 57-67.
[14] Lamb, H.H. (1983) Update of the Chronology of Assessment of the Volcanic Dust Veil Index. Climate Monitor, 12, 79-90.
[15] Newhall, C.G. and Self, S. (1982) The Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) An Estimate of Explosive Magnitude for Historical Volcanism. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 87, 1231-1238.
[16] Robock, A. (1981) A Latitudinally Dependent Volcanic Dust Veil Index, and Its Effect on Climate Simulations. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 11, 67-80.
[17] Bradley, R.S. and Jones, P.D. (1992) Records of Explosive Volcanic Eruptions over the Last 500 Years. In: Bradley, R.S. and Jones, P.D., Eds., Climate Since A.D. 1500, Routledge, London, 606-622.
[18] Sato, M., Hansen J.E., McCormick, M.P. and Pollak J.B. (1993) Stratospheric Aerosol Optical Depths, 1850-1990. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 98, 22987-22994.
[19] Gu, G. and Adler, R.F. (2011) Precipitation and Temperature Variations on the Interannual Time Scale: Assessing the Impact of ENSO and Volcanic Eruptions. Journal of Climate, 24, 2258-2270.
[20] Wigley, T.M.L. (2000) ENSO, Volcanoes and Record-Breaking Temperatures. Geophysical Research Letters, 24, 4101-4104.
[21] Emile-Geay, J., Seager, R., Cane, M.A., Cook, E.R. and Haug, G.H. (2008) Volcanoes and ENSO over the Past Millennium. Journal of Climate, 21, 3134-3148.
[22] Korecha, D. and Barnston, A.G. (2007) Predictability of June-September Rainfall in Ethiopia. Monthly Weather Review, 135, 628-650.
[23] Ogutu, J.O., Piepho, H.P., Dublin, H.T., Bhola, N. and Reid, R.S. (2008) El Niño-Southern Oscillation, Rainfall, Temperature and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index Fluctuations in the Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem. African Journal of Ecology, 46, 132-143.
[24] Shaman, J. and Tziperman, E. (2011) An Atmospheric Teleconnection Linking ENSO and Southwestern European Precipitation. Journal of Climate, 24, 124-139.
[25] Brönnimann, S., Xoplaki, E., Casty, C., Pauling, A. and Luterbacher, J. (2007) ENSO Influence on Europe during the Last Centuries. Climate Dynamics, 28, 181-197.
[26] Trenberth, K.E., Caron, J.M., Stepaniak, D.P. and Worley, S. (2002) Evolution of El Niño-Southern Oscillation and Global Atmospheric Surface Temperatures. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 107, AAC501-AAC517.
[27] Jones, P.D. (1989) The Influence of ENSO on Global Temperatures. Climate Monitor, 17, 80-89.
[28] de Freitas, C.R. and McLean, J.D. (2013) Update of the Chronology of Natural Signals in the Near-Surface Mean Global Temperature Record and the Southern Oscillation Index. International Journal of Geosciences, 4, 234-239.
[29] Hansen, J.E., Wang, W.C. and Lacis, A.A. (1978) Mount Agung Eruption Provides Test of Global Climate Perturbation. Science, 199, 1065-1068.
[30] Dutton, E.G. and Christy, J.R. (1992) Solar Radiative Forcing at Selected Locations and Evidence for Global Lower Tropospheric Cooling Following the Eruptions of El Chichon and Pinatubo. Geophysical Research Letters, 19, 2313-2316.
[31] Douglass, D.H. and Knox, R.S. (2005) Climate Forcing by the Volcanic Eruption of Mount Pinatubo. Geophysical Research Letters, 32, Published Online.
[32] Thompson, D.W.J., Wallace, J.M., Jones, P.D. and Kennedy, J.J. (2009) Identifying Signatures of Natural Climate Variability in Time Series of Global-Mean Surface Temperature: Methodology and Insights. Journal of Climate, 22, 6120-6141.
[33] Foster, G. and Rahmstorf, S. (2011) Global Temperature Evolution 1979-2010. Environmental Research Letters, 6, Article ID: 044022.
[34] Trenberth, K.E., Fasulo, J.T. and Keihl, J. (2009) Earth’s Global Energy Budget. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 90, 311-323.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2017 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.