Change in Climate Sensitivity and Its Dependence on the Lapse-Rate Feedback in 4 x CO2 Climate Model Experiments
Robust estimates of climate sensitivity are important for decision-making on mitigation of climate change. However, climate sensitivity and its governing processes are still subject to large uncertainty. Recently it has been established that climate sensitivity changes over time in numerical climate model experiments with abrupt quadrupling of the CO2 concentration. Here we conduct an analysis of such experiments from a range of climate models from phases 5 and 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP). Climate feedbacks associated with clouds, lapse rate, Planck radiation, surface albedo, and water vapor and their changes over time are diagnosed based on a radiative kernel method. We find two clearly distinct model groups, one with weak and one with strong lapse-rate feedback change. The Arctic is the region showing the largest differences between these two model groups, with respect to both warming change and individual feedback changes. We retrace this change to the development over time of the Arctic sea ice, which impacts both the surface-albedo and lapse-rate feedbacks. Generally, models that warm quickly, both globally and in the Arctic, also quickly lose their Arctic sea ice and change their total global-mean climate feedback only little, and vice versa. However, it remains unclear if the Arctic changes are a cause or rather a by-product of the total global-mean feedback change. Finally, we find support for the results of previous studies finding that the relative warming in the tropical Indo-Pacific region may control the change of total climate feedback over time.
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Is part ofEiselt, K.U. (2023). On the time-dependence of climate sensitivity. (Doctoral thesis). https://hdl.handle.net/10037/31607.
PublisherAmerican Meteorological Society
CitationEiselt, Graversen. Change in Climate Sensitivity and Its Dependence on the Lapse-Rate Feedback in 4 x CO2 Climate Model Experiments. Journal of Climate. 2022;35(9):2919-2932
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