Asymmetric seasonal temperature trends

Author: Judah Cohen and Jason C. Furtado
February 25, 2012
Journal Article
Geophysical Research Letters

Cohen, J. L., J. C. Furtado, M. Barlow, V. A. Alexeev, and J. E. Cherry (2012), Asymmetric seasonal temperature trends, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L04705, doi:10.1029/2011GL050582.

Current consensus on global climate change predicts warming trends driven by anthropogenic forcing, with maximum temperature changes projected in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) high latitudes during winter. Yet, global temperature trends show little warming over the most recent decade or so. For longer time periods appropriate to the assessment of trends, however, global temperatures have experienced significant warming trends for all seasons except winter, when cooling trends exist instead across large stretches of eastern North America and northern Eurasia. Hence, the most recent lapse in global warming is a seasonal phenomenon, prevalent only in boreal winter. Additionally, we show that the largest regional contributor to global temperature trends over the past two decades is land surface temperatures in the NH extratropics. Therefore, proposed mechanisms explaining the fluctuations in global annual temperatures should address this apparent seasonal asymmetry.