The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, along with numerous studies since, has suggested that the apparent global warming hiatus results from some combination of natural variability and changes to external forcings. Herein the external forcings for greenhouse gases (GHGs), long-lived trace gases, volcanic and tropospheric aerosols, and solar irradiance have been replaced in the Norwegian Earth System Model using recent observational estimates. The potential impact of these alternative forcings, and by residual the internally generated variability, is examined through two 30-member ensembles covering the period 1980 to 2012. The Reference ensemble uses the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 historical forcings extended with the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5) scenario, while the Sensitivity ensemble uses the alternative forcings. Over the hiatus period defined herein as 1998-2012, all of the forcings show some change between the Sensitivity and Reference experiments and have a combined net forcing change of -0.03 Wm(-2). The GHG forcing is 0.012 Wm(-2) higher in the Sensitivity forcings. The alternative solar forcing differs from the Reference forcing by -0.08 Wm(-2), the same as the alternative volcanic forcing that was based on the latest estimates from NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Anthropogenic aerosol emissions were replaced using the EU-EclipseV4a data set and produce a mean forcing change of 0.11 Wm(-2) over the period. Part 1 details the creation of the two 30-member ensembles and their characterization for parameters of particular relevance to the explanation of the hiatus. A detailed investigation of the two resulting ensembles global surface temperature behavior is given in Part 2, along with comparisons to observational data sets.