Sensitivity of radiative forcing, ocean heat uptake and climate feedbacks to changes in anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosols
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Sensitivity of radiative forcing, ocean heat uptake and climate feedbacks to changes in anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosols

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  • Journal Title:
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
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    We use both prescribed sea surface temperature and fully coupled versions of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory coupled climate model (CM3) to analyze the sensitivity of radiative forcing, ocean heat uptake, and climate feedback to changes in anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosols considered separately over the 1870 to 2005 period. The global anthropogenic aerosol climate feedback parameter (− α) of −1.13 ± 0.33 Wm−2 K−1 is indistinguishable from the greenhouse gas − α of −1.28 ± 0.23 Wm−2 K−1. However, this greenhouse gas climate feedback parameter is about 50% larger than that obtained for CM3 from a widely used linear extrapolation method of regressing Earth's top of atmosphere imbalance against surface air temperature change in idealized CO2 radiative forcing experiments. This implies that the global mean surface temperature change due to forcing over the 1870–2005 period is 50% smaller than that predicted using the climate feedback parameter obtained from idealized experiments. This difference results from time dependence in α, which makes the radiative forcing obtained by the fixed sea surface temperature method incompatible with that obtained by the linear extrapolation method fitted over the first 150 years after CO2 is quadrupled. On a regional scale, α varies greatly between the greenhouse gas and aerosol case. This suggests that the relationship between transient and equilibrium climate sensitivities obtained from idealized CO2 simulations, using techniques such as regional feedback analysis and heat uptake efficacy, may not hold for other forcing scenarios.
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    J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 120, 9837– 9854
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    Submitted
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