Multidecadal climate oscillations during the past millennium driven by volcanic forcing

Michael E. Mann, Byron A. Steinman, Daniel J. Brouillette, Sonya K. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


Past research argues for an internal multidecadal (40-to 60-year) oscillation distinct from climate noise. Recent studies have claimed that this so-termed Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation is instead a manifestation of competing time-varying effects of anthropogenic greenhouse gases and sulfate aerosols. That conclusion is bolstered by the absence of robust multidecadal climate oscillations in control simulations of current-generation models. Paleoclimate data, however, do demonstrate multidecadal oscillatory behavior during the preindustrial era. By comparing control and forced "Last Millennium" simulations, we show that these apparent multidecadal oscillations are an artifact of pulses of volcanic activity during the preindustrial era that project markedly onto the multidecadal (50-to 70-year) frequency band. We conclude that there is no compelling evidence for internal multidecadal oscillations in the climate system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1014-1019
Number of pages6
Issue number6533
StatePublished - Mar 5 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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