Journal article

Attributing Changing Rates of Temperature Record Breaking to Anthropogenic Influences

Andrew D King

Earth's Future | Wiley Open Access | Published : 2017


Record-breaking temperatures attract attention from the media, so understanding how and why the rate of record breaking is changing may be useful in communicating the effects of climate change. A simple methodology designed for estimating the anthropogenic influence on rates of record breaking in a given time series is proposed here. The frequency of hot and cold record-breaking temperature occurrences is shown to be changing due to the anthropogenic influence on the climate. Using ensembles of model simulations with and without human-induced forcings, it is demonstrated that the effect of climate change on global record-breaking temperatures can be detected as far back as the 1930s. On loca..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science

Funding Acknowledgements

The author thanks the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and useful discussions. The author also thanks David Karoly for useful discussions. This research was supported by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science (grant CE 110001028) and the NCI National Facility in Australia. The author acknowledges the World Climate Research Programme's Working Group on Coupled Modelling, which is responsible for CMIP, and also thanks the climate modelling groups for producing and making available their model output. For CMIP, the US Department of Energy's Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison provides coordinating support and led development of software infrastructure in partnership with the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals. The CMIP5 data used here are available through multiple Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) systems across the world. The author also thanks the Met Office for providing the annual CET and HadCRUT4 global temperature series through the HadOBS website ( The author thanks Kevin Cowtan and Robert Way for constructing and archiving their global temperature series available through the University of York website ( to kdc3/papers/coverage2013/series.html).