IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis

10.3.5 Changes in Properties of Modes of Variability Interannual Variability in Surface Air Temperature and Precipitation

Future changes in anthropogenic forcing will result not only in changes in the mean climate state but also in the variability of climate. Addressing the interannual variability in monthly mean surface air temperature and precipitation of 19 AOGCMs in CMIP2, Räisänen (2002) finds a decrease in temperature variability during the cold season in the extratropical NH and a slight increase in temperature variability in low latitudes and in warm season northern mid-latitudes. The former is likely due to the decrease of sea ice and snow with increasing temperature. The summer decrease in soil moisture over the mid-latitude land surfaces contributes to the latter. Räisänen (2002) also finds an increase in monthly mean precipitation variability in most areas, both in absolute value (standard deviation) and in relative value (coefficient of variation). However, the significance level of these variability changes is markedly lower than that for time mean climate change. Similar results were obtained from 18 AOGCM simulations under the SRES A2 scenario (Giorgi and Bi, 2005).