Anthony asked if it would be difficult to statistically justify the breaks in temperature between 1976 and 1979 proposed by Quirk (2009) for Australian temperature. He has an interest in oceanographic regime-shifts and climate change. Sure, I said, a simple Chow test.
We ended up rebutting the Easterling & Wehner (2009) claim that describing temperatures since 1998 as declining is ‘cherry picking’, finding a major regime shift occurred in 1997, statistically justifying the use of 1997 as a starting point for temperature trends.
A regime-shift based temperature forecast follows logically from identification of significant breaks. Our paper, “Structural break models of climatic regime-shifts: claims and forecasts“, has been submitted to the International Journal of Forecasting, and is downloadable from arXiv.
The figure above shows the positions of statistically significant breaks (blue) in 1978 and 1997. Based on the dates of regime-shifts (established with statistical significance and corroborating oceanographic evidence), a presumed underlying warming of 0.5C per century (green line), and no other major changes, the current stable temperature regime will continue until around 2050 until it hits the underlying uptrend, finishing about 0.2C above present temperatures at the end of the century.
This model suggests we are in a period similar to the 50 year period from the 1930’s through to the late 1970’s of very variable, but overall flat temperature trend.
Here is the abstract.
A Chow test for structural breaks in the surface temperature series is used to investigate two common claims about global warming. Quirk (2009) proposed that the increase in Australian temperature from 1910 to the present was largely confined to a regime-shift in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) between 1976 and 1979. The test finds a step change in both Australian and global temperature trends in 1978 (HadCRU3GL), and in Australian rainfall in 1982 with flat temperatures before and after. Easterling & Wehner (2009) claimed that singling out the apparent flatness in global temperature since 1997 is ‘cherry picking’ to reinforce an arbitrary point of view. On the contrary, we find evidence for a significant change in the temperature series around 1997, corroborated with evidence of a coincident oceanographic regime-shift. We use the trends between these significant change points to generate a forecast of future global temperature under specific assumptions.