Decadal Fluctuations in Planetary Wave Forcing Modulate Global Warming in Late Boreal Winter

Author: Judah Cohen
Date: 
March 5, 2009
Type: 
Journal Article
Venue: 
Journal of Climate
Citation: 

Cohen, J., Barlow, M. and Saito, K., 2009. Decadal Fluctuations in Planetary Wave Forcing Modulate Global Warming in Late Boreal Winter. Journal of Climate, 22(16): 4418-4426.

The warming trend in global surface temperatures over the last 40 yr is clear and consistent with anthropogenic increases in greenhouse gases. Over the last 2 decades, this trend appears to have accelerated. In contrast to this general behavior, however, here it is shown that trends during the boreal cold months in the recent period have developed a marked asymmetry between early winter and late winter for the Northern Hemisphere, with vigorous warming in October–December followed by a reversal to a neutral/cold trend in January–March. This observed asymmetry in the cold half of the boreal year is linked to a two-way stratosphere–troposphere interaction, which is strongest in the Northern Hemisphere during late winter and is related to variability in Eurasian land surface conditions during autumn. This link has been demonstrated for year-to-year variability and used to improve seasonal time-scale winter forecasts; here, this coupling is shown to strongly modulate the warming trend, with implications for decadal-scale temperature projections.