The effects of the emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs), aerosols, and natural forcing on the summer-mean surface air temperature (TAS) in the East Asia (EA) land surface in the 20th century are analyzed using six-member coupled model inter-comparison project 5 (CMIP5) general circulation model (GCM) ensembles from five single-forcing simulations. The simulation with the observed GHG concentrations and aerosol emissions reproduces well the land-mean EA TAS trend characterized by warming periods in the early (1911–1940; P1) and late (1971–2000; P3) 20th century separated by a cooling period (1941–1970; P2). The warming in P1 is mainly due to the natural variability related to GHG increases and the long-term recovery from volcanic activities in late-19th/early-20th century. The cooling in P2 occurs as the combined cooling by anthropogenic aerosols and increased volcanic eruptions in the 1960s exceeds the warming by the GHG increases and the nonlinear interaction term. In P3, the combined warming by GHGs and the interaction term exceeds the cooling by anthropogenic aerosols to result in the warming. The SW forcing is not driving the TAS increase in P1/P3 as the shortwave (SW) forcing is heavily affected by the increased cloudiness and the longwave (LW) forcing dominates the SW forcing. The LW forcing to TAS cannot be separated from the LW response to TAS, preventing further analyses. The interaction among these forcing affects TAS via largely modifying the atmospheric water cycle, especially in P2 and P3. Key forcing terms on TAS such as the temperature advection related to large-scale circulation changes cannot be analyzed due to the lack of model data.
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