Emerging local warming signals in observational data
Article first published online: 14 NOV 2012
©2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 39, Issue 21, November 2012
How to Cite
2012), Emerging local warming signals in observational data, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L21711, doi:10.1029/2012GL053952., , and (
- Issue published online: 14 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 14 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 15 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 12 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Received: 19 SEP 2012
- emerging signal;
- interannual variability;
 The global average temperature of the Earth has increased, but year-to-year variability in local climates impedes the identification of clear changes in observations and human experience. For a signal to become obvious in data records or in a human lifetime it needs to be greater than the noise of variability and thereby lead to a significant shift in the distribution of temperature. We show that locations with the largest amount of warming may not display a clear shift in temperature distributions if the local variability is also large. Based on observational data only we demonstrate that large parts of the Earth have experienced a significant local shift towards warmer temperatures in the summer season, particularly at lower latitudes. We also show that these regions are similar to those that are found to be significant in standard detection methods, thus providing an approach to link locally significant changes more closely to impacts.