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Progress in Climate Change Attribution and Projection Studies

ZHOU Tianjun,LI Lijuan,LI Hongmei,and BAO Qing State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics,Institute of Atmospheric Physics,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100029  
This paper summarizes the progress of climate change attribution and projection modeling studies achieved by scientists in the Institute of Atmospheric Physics,Chinese Academy of Sciences,over recent five years.When forced by a combination of sea surface temperature,solar radiation,and green houses gases,the atmospheric general circulation models can reasonably reproduce the evolution of global mean surface air temperature(SAT) during the 20th century,however,fail in capturing the long term trend of high latitude circulations measured by the North Atlantic Oscillation/Arctic Oscillation,or Antarctic Oscillation index.Examinations on the variations of SAT over China and the globe in the 20th century simulated by 19 coupled climate models of IPCC AR4 driven by historical natural and anthropogenic forcing agents show that most models perform well in simulating both the global and northern hemispheric mean SAT evolutions.The inclusion of natural forcing agents improves the simulation,in particular for the first half of the century.The reproducibility of the SAT averaged over China is lower than that of the global and hemispheric averages,but it is still acceptable.No model could successfully reproduce the reconstructed warming over China in the 1920s,which indicates that the mechanism responsible for the 1920s warming remains to be an open question.Numerical simulations employing AGCMs and regional climate models suggest that the negative radiation effects of sulfate aerosol overlap the effects of greenhouse gases and hence contribute to the surface cooling over eastern China during summer.However,there are no evidences supporting the idea that the anthropogenic aerosol emission dominates the recent "Southern Flooding and Northern Drought" rainfall pattern in eastern China.Observational evidences indicate a warming trend of SAT over the Tibetan Plateau starting from the middle of the 20th century.Climate model results suggest that the increase of greenhouse gases contributes to this warming trend.Multi-model ensemble scenario projections of future climate change during the 21st century indicate that the global mean SAT would continue to rise in the forthcoming century,while the intensities are scenario-dependent.The potential warming of annual mean SAT over continental China generally parallels that of the global average.The amplitudes over Northeast China,western China,and central China are stronger than that over the other regions.The warming during winter would be stronger than that during summer;the increase of daily minimum temperature would be larger than that of daily maximum temperature.Numerical model results also suggest that the global warming might have impacts on the geographic distribution of vegetations over the middle and eastern China.Analysis on the output of IPCC AR4 scenario projections shows that following the summertime warming,both the intensity and frequency of extreme precipitation and temperatures would increase over China.Multi-model inter-comparison indicates that the global warming might lead to a weakening of the thermohaline circulation;however,the change of intensity is model-dependent.Numerical model results also suggest that the global warming might not be a mechanism responsible for the recent weakening of the North Pacific shallow meridional subtropical-tropical cell observed since the late 1970s.Uncertainties in future climate change model projections are also emphasized.
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