The Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research – a partnership between the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO – is leading Australia's climate change and weather research
Climate questions: Is there an inconsistency between observed and modelled patterns of warming in the lower atmosphere?
It is commonly claimed that a predicted fingerprint of climate change – a warming (or hot spot) in the lower troposphere – is missing from the measurements. Recent reanalysis of the data has established that observations are not inconsistent with the modelled patterns of warming for the troposphere. Thus there is no ‘missing’ hot spot.
1 June 2011 | Updated 22 March 2013
Climate models predict that increasing greenhouse gases should warm the lower troposphere slightly more (in relative terms) than the surface.
However, until recently, observed temperature datasets did not show this level of warming in the tropical troposphere.
Since predicted changes due to increasing greenhouse gases and aerosols explain so many other observed features of 20th century climate change, scientists have sought to understand and reconcile the apparent difference between modelled and observed tropospheric temperature trends.
There is no reasonable evidence of a fundamental disagreement between the tropospheric temperature trends from models and observations when uncertainties in both are treated comprehensively.
Based on information written by CSIRO on behalf of the Department of Climate Change http://www.climatechange.gov.au/climate-change/~/media/publications/science/hot-topics-loweratmospher.ashx [external link] and modified to reflect recent research findings. Published with permission of the Department of Climate Change.
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