Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2016

Publication Title

Advances in Meteorology

ISSN

1687-9317

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/4830603

Abstract

To provide context for observed trends in terrestrial water storage (TWS) during GRACE (2003–2014), trends and variability in the CESM1-CAM5 Large Ensemble (LE) are examined. Motivated in part by the anomalous nature of climate variability during GRACE, the characteristics of both forced change and internal modes are quantified and their influences on observations are estimated. Trends during the GRACE era in the LE are dominated by internal variability rather than by the forced response, with TWS anomalies in much of the Americas, eastern Australia, Africa, and southwestern Eurasia largely attributable to the negative phases of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). While similarities between observed trends and the model-inferred forced response also exist, it is inappropriate to attribute such trends mainly to anthropogenic forcing. For several key river basins, trends in the mean state and interannual variability and the time at which the forced response exceeds background variability are also estimated while aspects of global mean TWS, including changes in its annual amplitude and decadal trends, are quantified. The findings highlight the challenge of detecting anthropogenic climate change in temporally finite satellite datasets and underscore the benefit of utilizing models in the interpretation of the observed record.

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