Vol 23, No 10

Challenges in the Detection and Attribution of Northern Hemisphere Surface Temperature Trends Since 1850

Ronan Connolly, Willie Soon, Michael Connolly, Sallie Baliunas, Johan Berglund, C. J. Butler, Rodolfo Gustavo Cionco, Ana G. Elias, Valery M. Fedorov, Hermann Harde et al.


Since 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has heavily relied on the comparison between global climate model hindcasts and global surface temperature (ST) estimates for concluding that post-1950s global warming is mostly human-caused. In Connolly et al., we cautioned that this approach to the detection and attribution of climate change was highly dependent on the choice of Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) and ST data sets. We compiled 16 TSI and five ST data sets and found by altering the choice of TSI or ST, one could (prematurely) conclude anything from the warming being "mostly human-caused" to "mostly natural." Richardson and Benestad suggested our analysis was "erroneous" and "flawed" because we did not use a multilinear regression. They argued that applying a multilinear regression to one of the five ST series re-affirmed the IPCC's attribution statement. They also objected that many of the published TSI data sets were out-of-date. However, here we show that when applying multilinear regression analysis to an expanded and updated data set of 27 TSI series, the original conclusions of Connolly et al. are confirmed for all five ST data sets. Therefore, it is still unclear whether the observed warming is mostly human-caused, mostly natural or some combination of both.


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