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Keywords:

  • human influence;
  • precipitation change

[1] Observations of extratropical Southern Hemisphere austral summer precipitation over recent decades show mid-latitude drying and high-latitude moistening. Here we show that the observed precipitation trends in two datasets are inconsistent with simulated internal variability, but are closely consistent with trends simulated in response to historical changes in anthropogenic and natural forcings. Simulations with individual anthropogenic and natural forcings suggest that the observed pattern of precipitation change is substantially forced by anthropogenic greenhouse gas and ozone changes, with an opposing influence from aerosols. Our results demonstrate that human influence had a significant impact on precipitation across the mid and high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere, changes which are expected to have a profound impact on Southern Ocean stratification and hence on ocean-atmosphere heat and carbon fluxes.