University of Leicester
Abrametal-PAGES2k_Text-and-Figures.pdf (4.68 MB)

Early onset of industrial-era warming across the oceans and continents

Download (4.68 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2019-03-08, 12:04 authored by NJ Abram, HV McGregor, JE Tierney, MN Evans, NP McKay, DS Kaufman, K Thirumalai, B Martrat, H Goosse, SJ Phipps, EJ Steig, KH Kilbourne, CP Saenger, J Zinke, G Leduc, JA Addison, PG Mortyn, M-S Seidenkrantz, M-A Sicre, K Selvaraj, HL Filipsson, R Neukom, J Gergis, MAJ Curran, L von Gunten
The evolution of industrial-era warming across the continents and oceans provides a context for future climate change and is important for determining climate sensitivity and the processes that control regional warming. Here we use post-AD 1500 palaeoclimate records to show that sustained industrial-era warming of the tropical oceans first developed during the mid-nineteenth century and was nearly synchronous with Northern Hemisphere continental warming. The early onset of sustained, significant warming in palaeoclimate records and model simulations suggests that greenhouse forcing of industrial-era warming commenced as early as the mid-nineteenth century and included an enhanced equatorial ocean response mechanism. The development of Southern Hemisphere warming is delayed in reconstructions, but this apparent delay is not reproduced in climate simulations. Our findings imply that instrumental records are too short to comprehensively assess anthropogenic climate change and that, in some regions, about 180 years of industrial-era warming has already caused surface temperatures to emerge above pre-industrial values, even when taking natural variability into account.


We acknowledge support from PAGES funded by the US and Swiss National Science Foundations (NSF) and NOAA. N.J.A. is supported by an Australian Research Council (ARC) QEII fellowship awarded under DP110101161 and this work contributes to ARC Discovery Project DP140102059 (N.J.A., M.A.J.C.) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science (N.J.A., S.J.P., J.G.). H.V.M. is supported by ARC Future Fellowship FT140100286 and acknowledges funding from ARC Discovery Project DP1092945 (H.M.V., S.J.P.). We acknowledge fellowship support from a CSIC-Ramón y Cajal post-doctoral programme RYC-2013-14073 (B.M.), a Clare Hall College Cambridge Shackleton Fellowship (B.M.), and an ARC DECRA fellowship DE130100668 (J.G.). We acknowledge research support from US NSF grant OCE1536249 (M.N.E.), the ARC Special Research Initiative for the Antarctic Gateway Partnership (Project ID SR140300001; S.J.P.), Red CONSOLIDER GRACCIE CTM2014-59111-REDC (B.M.), Swiss NSF grant PZ00P2_154802 (R.N.), the Danish Council for Independent Research, Natural Science OCEANHEAT project 12-126709/FNU (M.-S.S.), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41273083; K.S.) and Shanghai Fund (2013SH012; K.S.). This is University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science contribution 5206.



NATURE, 2016, 536 (7617), pp. 411-+ (22)

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING/School of Geography, Geology and the Environment


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in



Nature Research (part of Springer Nature)





Acceptance date


Copyright date


Available date


Publisher version