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気になった一文集(English ver. No. 20)

The physics through which greenhouse gases warm the atmosphere is well understood. However, feedbacks within the atmosphere can enhance or reduce this warming, and the magnitudes of those feedbacks, particularly those associated with clouds, are much more uncertain.

Despite substantial progress in determining observational constraints for future global-mean warming, the uncertainty range in the estimated contribution of greenhouse gases to the observed global-mean warming is still quite large at 0.5 to 1.3°C. A large part of this uncertainty results from difficulties in distinguishing the effects of greenhouse gas-induced warming from other effects, particularly the cooling effect of tropospheric aerosols.

Better observational information, including from satellite data and further back in time from digitization of old weather records, will improve understanding of regional climate change and climate variability.

There is little doubt that human activities were the main cause of global warming over the past 60 years, but work to better understand the causes of changes in regional climate, and thereby better understand our vulnerability to climate extremes, is far from done.

From Past to Future WarmingScience 343, 844-845


If indeed the tropical Pacific is central to the current hiatus, then it may take a while until the Pacific shifts into a warm state and global surface temperatures resume their upward trend.

The question of what drives decadal changes in the Pacific, as well as their predictability, takes on new urgency in the context of the current hiatus.

Looking back into the past may help to unravel the role of the Pacific Ocean in modulating changes in global mean surface temperature.

Proxies for past climatic conditions— for example, from corals or tree rings—can also provide more observations of decadal-scale shifts in the tropical Pacific climate and help to determine how well climate models simulate the range of variability of the preindustrial climate.

To increase the accuracy of ocean heat content estimates, it is critical that observational capability in the ocean, including arrays of autonomous profiling floats and tropical moorings, is maintained and expanded.

Greenhouse gases are warming the planet, and will continue to do so. Developing a framework for measuring and attributing subtle variations in the global energy budget—from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the ocean— is one of the outstanding challenges.

The Tropical Pacific Ocean−−Back in the Driver's Seat?Science 343, 976-978.


As Ward explains, whilst reducing uncertainty is a key research question, it should not be the starting point in communication.

But communication does not work if it is not tailored to the targeted audience — in this case the general public. And addressing the public is an ongoing job scientists should proactively take on.

Scientist communicatorsNature Climate Change 4, 149 (2014)


We live in interesting times as we watch diverse effects of human activities on Earth’s climate emerge from natural variability.

Basing decisions on predictions of forced climate change is formally analogous to using knowledge of the normal climatological seasonal cycle to inform vacation plans, ignoring any weather predictions.

Simplicity amid ComplexityScience 343, 1206-1207 (14 March 2014). "Perspective"


There is clearly much to learn about the interplay of various factors that have collectively caused the remarkable slow-down in global average surface warming. At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that this particular indicator of climate change — useful as it may be as an abstract, integrated measure — has little direct impact on human lives.

However, in the course of this pursuit we must not lose sight of the more complicated expressions of climate change — for example, on continental or smaller spatial scales, in variables other than surface temperature, and in terms of extremes around the average.

Hiatus in contextNature Geoscience 7, 157 (2014). "Editorial"


“data without models are chaos, but models without data are fantasy.” Spatially and temporally, better measurement is essential to identify and quantify methane sources, but long-term data gathering is in trouble. Despite methane’s attractiveness as a cost-effective greenhouse reduction target, budgets for greenhouse gas monitoring are contracting. Somewhere, perhaps in the tropics or East Asia, unwelcome methane surprises may lurk, but watchers are few. 

Methane on the Rise—AgainScience 343, 493-495 (31 January 2014). "Perspective"