Dependence of global radiative feedbacks on evolving patterns of surface heat fluxes

Geophysical Research Letters | Rugenstein et al. [2016]


In most climate models, after an abrupt increase in radiative forcing the climate feedback parameter magnitude decreases with time. We demonstrate how the evolution of the pattern of ocean heat uptake – moving from a more homogeneous toward a heterogeneous and high latitude enhanced pattern – influences not only regional but also global climate feedbacks. We force a slab ocean model with scaled patterns of ocean heat uptake derived from a coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model. Steady-state results from the slab-ocean approximate transient results from the dynamic ocean configuration. Our results indicate that cloud radiative effects play an important role in decreasing the magnitude of the climate feedback parameter. The ocean strongly affects atmospheric temperatures through both heat uptake and through influencing atmospheric feedbacks. This highlights the challenges associated with reliably predicting transient or equilibrated climate system states from shorter-term climate simulations and observed climate variability.

Full text can be found here.


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