The figure to the left demonstrates the linkages between observed temperatures, observed effects on natural systems, and temperatures from climate model simulations with natural, anthropogenic, and combined natural and anthropogenic forcings. Two ways in which these linkages are utilised in detection and attribution studies of observed effects are described below.
The study of causal connection by separation of natural and anthropogenic forcing factors compares observed temporal changes in animals and plants with changes over the same time periods in observed temperatures as well as modelled temperatures using (i) only natural climate forcing; (ii) only anthropogenic climate forcing; and (iii) both forcings combined.
The panel to the right shows the results from a study employing this methodology1. The locations for the modelled temperatures were individual grid boxes corresponding to given animal and plant study sites and time periods.
The agreement (in overlap and shape) between the observed (blue bars) and modelled plots is weakest with natural forcings, stronger with anthropogenic forcings, and strongest with combined forcings. Thus, observed changes in animals and plants are likely responding to both natural and anthropogenic climate forcings, providing a direct cause-and-effect linkage [F1.7,126.96.36.199].
2. Using spatial analysis
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