Can Human-Caused Change Be Distinguished From Natural Caused Climate Change?

Drought From Warming

If global warming is caused by humans and that cause has a signature that scientists can point to in the debate, then the scales tip further for increased global action. Jeff Severinghaus, a climate researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif says his new study may show such a signature.

Are human-caused and natural global warming different? Study says yes.

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR - by Pete Spotts. January 31, 2013 .

A study suggests that human-caused and natural global warming episodes affect rainfall rates differently. The finding could help scientists better forecast what's ahead.

Human-triggered climate warming appears to leave a unique fingerprint on global rainfall rates compared with natural warming, according to a new study.

While rainfall rates increase whether the long-term warming trend is natural or not, the rate of increase appears to be higher during natural warming trends.

The result might help resolve a long-standing discrepancy between changes in rainfall projected in global climate models and changes projected by studying the historical record, researchers say.

The study suggests that "carbon dioxide has a fundamentally different mode of warming than natural climate change" – one that leaves a unique signature on rainfall rates, says Jeff Severinghaus, a climate researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif. While the effect is most pronounced the the Pacific basin, the work "is about something more fundamental.... Natural and human-caused climate change really produce different effects."

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Warmer earth will have less rain, not more: study

AFP - January 31, 2013

Climate scientists say they have found evidence to back predictions for a future with lower average rainfall, even though Earth's past warming episodes had led to more precipitation, not less.

Writing in the journal Nature, researchers said they had found proof that global warming caused by man's greenhouse-gas emissions has a different effect on rainfall than warming caused by increased solar radiation.

Warming induced by carbon emissions is expected to accompany a rise in droughts in the future, they said.


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This runs contrary to experience during the so-called Medieval Warm Period, from 1000 to 1250 AD, when Earth was hotter than today as a result of solar heating - but also wetter.

Scientists have long battled to understand the apparent contradiction.

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