Date of this Version
In: Climate Science Special Report: A Sustained Assessment Activity of the U.S. Global Change Research Program [Wuebbles, D.J., D.W. Fahey, K.A. Hibbard, D.J. Dokken, B.C. Stewart, and T.K. Maycock (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA (2017), pp. 228-266.
1. The tropics have expanded poleward by about 70 to 200 miles in each hemisphere over the period 1979-2009, with an accompanying shift of the subtropical dry zones, midlatitude jets, and storm tracks (medium to high confidence). Human activities have played a role in this change (medium confidence), although confidence is presently low regarding the magnitude of the human contribution relative to natural variability.
2. Recurring patterns of variability in large-scale atmospheric circulation (such as the North Atlantic Oscillation and Nordlem Annular Mode) and the atmosphere-ocean system (such as El Niño-Southern Oscillation) cause year-to-year variations in U.S. temperatures and precipitation (high confidence). Changes in the occurrence of these patterns or their properties have contributed to recent U.S. temperature and precipitation trends (medium confidence), although confidence is low regarding the size of the role of human activities in these changes.