Think Pink for a Better View of Climate Change


A new study says pink noise may be the key to separating out natural climate variability from climate change that is influenced by human activity.

Not familiar with pink noise? It’s a random noise in which every octave contains the same amount of energy. Pink noise is found in systems ranging from earthquakes and electronics to biology and stellar luminosity. Compared to the more familiar white noise, pink noise has more low-frequency components.

Writing in the journal Physical Review Letters, Yale researcher John Wettlaufer, graduate student Sahil Agarwal, and first author and Yale graduate Woosok Moon of Stockholm University found that pink noise energy signatures on decadal time scales appear in historical climate proxy data both before and after the Industrial Revolution.

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