Received: 18 May 2011 – Discussion started: 12 Jul 2011
Abstract. We examine the characteristics (amplitude and phase) of the temporal variation in the rates of global-mean surface temperature change during the past millennium. The study was conducted by applying 20-, 30-, and 50-yr sliding windows to the observations of recent century and reconstructions of earlier times. The analysis focuses on the characteristics of the 20th century within the context of the millennium as well as their sensitivity to the low frequency variability of sea surface temperature (SST) and time scales. On 20-yr time scale, comparable rates to that of the 20th century in both amplitude and phase occur in earlier nine centuries. The peak in the amplitude of rates in the 20th century on 30-yr time scale, although is not the largest during the past millennium, but is the most persistent. On 50-yr time scale, the 20th century warming rates are the highest and the most persistent during the past millennium. The results also indicate that although the SST variability does not affect much the amplitude of the rates, but the phases is quite different, thus highlighting the importance of the role of oceans in affecting the rates. We also analyzed the characteristics from global climate model (1000–1999 AD) simulations with different climate (solar, volcanic, and greenhouse gases) forcing. Except for the one driven by the solar forcing, other forcing simulates similar amplitudes as the observed ones. However, only greenhouse gases (GHG) forcing can reproduce the persistent high warming rates of the 20th century.
How to cite. Shen, C., Wang, W.-C., Zeng, G., Peng, Y., and Xu, Y.: Rates of global temperature change during the past millennium, Clim. Past Discuss., 7, 2341–2354, https://doi.org/10.5194/cpd-7-2341-2011, 2011.