GCM - free quantification of anthropogenic warming using scaling fluctuation analysis, including fat tailed extremes

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Shaun Lovejoy, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada

Although current global warming certainly has a large anthropogenic component, its quantification relies primarily on complex GCM assumptions and codes; it is desirable to complement this with empirically based methodologies. Previous attempts to use the recent climate record have concentrated on “fingerprinting” or otherwise comparing the record with GCM outputs. By using CO2 radiative forcings as a linear surrogate for all anthropogenic effects we estimate the total anthropogenic warming and (effective) climate sensitivity finding: ΔTanth = 0.87±0.11 K, λ2x,CO2,eff = 3.08 ±0.85 K. These are close the IPPC 2007 (AR4) values ΔTanth = 0.74±0.18 K and λ2x,CO2 = 2 - 4.5 K (equilibrium) climate sensitivity and are independent of GCM models, radiative transfer calculations and emission histories. We statistically formulate the hypothesis of warming through natural variability by using centennial scale probabilities of natural fluctuations estimated using scaling, fluctuation analysis on multiproxy data. We take into account two nonclassical statistical features - long range statistical dependencies and “fat tailed” probability distributions (both of which greatly amplify the probability of extremes). Even in the most unfavourable cases, we may reject the natural variability hypothesis at confidence levels > 99%.