finding 1.5 : key-finding-1-5

Natural variability, including El Niño events and other recurring patterns of ocean–atmosphere interactions, impact temperature and precipitation, especially regionally, over months to years. The global influence of natural variability, however, is limited to a small fraction of observed climate trends over decades.



This finding is from chapter 1 of Climate Science Special Report: The Fourth National Climate Assessment: Volume I.

Process for developing key messages: The Key Finding and supporting text summarizes extensive evidence documented in the climate science peer-reviewed literature. There has been an extensive increase in the understanding of the role of natural variability on the climate system over the last few decades, including a number of new findings since NCA3.

Description of evidence base: The Key Finding and supporting text summarizes extensive evidence documented in the climate science literature and are similar to statements made in previous national (NCA3)dd5b893d-4462-4bb3-9205-67b532919566 and internationalf03117be-ccfe-4f88-b70a-ffd4351b8190 (IPCC 2013) assessments. The role of natural variability in climate trends has been extensively discussed in the peer-reviewed literature (e.g., Karl et al. 2015;fc03a2dc-341a-4143-9f9c-d117bb66dd20 Rahmstorf et al. 2015;143752b0-3899-41fe-963b-5b040305a5be Lewandowsky et al. 2016;06be584c-b7c6-4c08-8792-caf54bf51a43 Mears and Wentz 2016;0215f34d-335f-4105-a3eb-b660e0ff8a78 Trenberth et al. 2014;258ceb97-e0ec-409e-b096-69ea1fac70e5 Santer et al. 20172795efc8-a843-43e3-b81b-1d0bff06a6ea f97bcbc6-134a-42e2-ad5e-e9d77cada3fa 5f63a735-c7d8-4998-bd4d-3d3cfe3754ce).

New information and remaining uncertainties: Uncertainties still exist in the precise magnitude and nature of the full effects of individual ocean cycles and other aspects of natural variability on the climate system. Increased emphasis on monitoring should reduce this uncertainty significantly over the next few decades.

Assessment of confidence based on evidence: There is very high confidence, affected to some degree by limitations in the observational record, that the role of natural variability on future climate change is limited.

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