Attributing observed Greenland responses to natural and anthropogenic climate forcings

  • 8 June 2015
  • Number of views: 2339
Attributing observed Greenland responses to natural and anthropogenic climate forcings

Research supported by the NOAA Climate Program Office has recently been published in the journal Climate Dynamics

The paper by Andres and Peltier, "Attributing observed Greenland responses to natural and anthropogenic climate forcings," enhances our understanding of the contributions of anthropogenic forcing and natural variability to changing precipitation, increased surface temperatures, and subsequent melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. 

CCSM3 simulations are compared to observational reconstructions to determine how well the model represents observed Greenland surface conditions. 

This work shows that although greenhouse gas increases account for the majority of the temperature and precipitation increases in the model after the mid-1900s, the observational reconstructions for Greenland show that temperatures and precipitation do not increase until the mid-1990s. This suggests that the model over-predicts the response to greenhouse gases over the twentieth century and that CCSM3 is not capturing processes that are proving important to Greenland surface conditions. 

The results of this study highlight the need for further research to determine the influence of physical processes and natural variability counteracting greenhouse gas forcing in the observed climatology of Greenland during the industrial period. 

Access the article at:




Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather. In 2017, the United States experienced a record-tying 16 climate- and weather-related disasters where overall costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Combined, these events claimed 362 lives, and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted, costing more than $306 billion. Businesses, policy leaders, resource managers and citizens are increasingly asking for information to help them address such challenges.


Climate Program Office
1315 East-West Hwy, Suite 1100
Silver Spring, MD 20910