Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Global interdecadal and century-scale climate oscillations during the past five centuries

Abstract

THE recognition of natural modes of climate variability is essential for a better understanding of the factors that govern climate change. Recent models suggest that interdecadal (roughly 15–35-year period)1–4 and century-scale (roughly 50–150-year period)5–7 climate variability may be intrinsic to the natural climate system. While there is some evidence for the existence of interdecadal8,9 and century-scale9,10 oscillations in instrumental temperature records, confident detection from these short (100–400-year) records is difficult11,12. Oscillations on the same timescales5,13–17 have also been detected in isolated climate-proxy or historical records over longer durations, but the large-scale spatial structure of the variability has not been investigated systematically. Here we report the multivariate analysis of a globally distributed set of temperature proxy records of several centuries duration. The results of our spatio-temporal analysis strengthen evidence for persistent natural interdecadal and century-scale climate oscillations, and reveal both the spatial patterns and temporal histories of these signals.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Barnett, T. P., Del Genio, A. D. & Ruedy, R. A. J. geophys. Res. 97, 7341–7354 (1992).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Von Storch, J. S. Tellus 46, 419–432 (1994).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Latif, M. & Barnett, T. P. Science 266, 634–637 (1994).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Chen, F. & Ghil, M. J. phys. Oceanogr. (in the press).

  5. 5

    Stocker, T. F. & Mysak, L. Clim. Change 20, 227–250 (1992).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Mysak, L. A., Stocker, T. F. & Huang, F. Clim. Dyn. 8, 103–116 (1993).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Delworth, T., Manabe, S. & Stouffer, R. J. J. Clim. 6, 1993–2011 (1993).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Ghil, M. & Vautard, R. Nature 350, 324–327 (1991).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Mann, M. E. & Park, J. J. geophys. Res. 99, 25819–25833 (1994).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Schlesinger, M. E. & Ramankutty, N. Nature 367, 723–726 (1994).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Elsner, J. B. & Tsonis, A. A. Nature 372, 507–508 (1994).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Schlesinger, M. E. & Ramankutty, N. Nature 372, 508–509 (1994).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Diaz, H. & Pulwarty, R. S. Clim. Change 26, 317–342 (1994).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Dunbar, R. B., Wellington, G. M., Colgan, M. W. & Glynn, P. W. Paleoceanography 9, 291–315 (1994).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Linsley, B. K., Dunbar, R. B., Wellington, G. M. & Mucciarone, D. A. J. geophys. Res. 99, 9977–9994 (1994).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Plaut, G., Ghil, M. & Vautard, R. Science 268, 710–713 (1995).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17

    Thomson, D. J. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. A 330, 601–616 (1990).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Thompson, L. in Climate Since A.D. 1500 (eds Bradley, R. S. & Jones, P. D.) 517–548 (Routledge & Kegan Paul, Boston, 1992).

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19

    Bradley, R. S. & Jones, P. D. Holocene 3, 367–376 (1993).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20

    Jones, J. D. & Briffa, K. R. Holocene 1, 165–179 (1992).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21

    Jacoby, G. C. & D'arrigo, R. Clim. Change 14, 39–59 (1989).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22

    Briffa, K. R. & Jones, P. D. Holocene 3, 82–92 (1993).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23

    Mann, M. E., Lall, U. & Saltzman, B. Geophys. Res. Lett. 22, 937–940 (1995).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24

    Bradley, R. S., Mann, M. E. & Park, J. Eos (suppl.) 75, 383 (1994).

    Google Scholar 

  25. 25

    Halpert, M. S. & Ropelewski, C. F. J. Clim. 5, 577–593 (1992).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26

    Trenberth, K. Bull. Am. met. Soc. 71, 988–993 (1990).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27

    Slowey, N. C. & Crowley, T. J. Geophys. Res. Lett. 22, 2345–2348 (1995).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28

    Hughes, M. & Diaz, H. F. Clim. Change 26, 109–129 (1995).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Mann, M., Park, J. & Bradley, R. Global interdecadal and century-scale climate oscillations during the past five centuries. Nature 378, 266–270 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1038/378266a0

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing