Sea Level Pressure Changes due to Climate Change

Eugene S. Takle
© 2003

Most studies of climate change have focused on temperature and precipitation. Gillett et al. (2003) evaluate the change in sea-level pressure over the last 50 years and use four global climate models to examine how well climate models capture the observed changes. They find that polar regions -both north and south- have experienced decreases in sea-level pressure over the last 50 years and the North Atlantic Ocean, Europe North Africa, India, and other tropical to mid-latitude regions have had increases in sea-level pressure. Global climate models run with and without the effects of greenhouse gases reveal a similar pattern of global pressure redistribution (although with considerably lower amplitude) as shown in the observations. The authors take this as evidence independent of global warming (e.g., global surface temperature increases) to suggest a human influence on the global climate.


Gillett, N. P., F.W. Zwiers, A.J. Weaver, and P. A. Stott, 2003: Detection of human influence on sea-level pressure. Nature, 422, 292-294.