- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Journal of Climate
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- 5845 to 5859
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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null (Ed.)Abstract. Equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) has been directly estimated using reconstructions of past climates that are different than today's. A challenge to this approach is that temperature proxies integrate over the timescales of the fast feedback processes (e.g., changes in water vapor, snow, and clouds) that are captured in ECS as well as the slower feedback processes (e.g., changes in ice sheets and ocean circulation) that are not. A way around this issue is to treat the slow feedbacks as climate forcings and independently account for their impact on global temperature. Here we conduct a suite of Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) simulations using the Community Earth System Model version 1.2 (CESM1.2) to quantify the forcingand efficacy of land ice sheets (LISs) and greenhouse gases (GHGs) in order to estimate ECS. Our forcing and efficacy quantification adopts the effective radiative forcing (ERF) and adjustment framework and provides a complete accounting for the radiative, topographic, and dynamical impacts of LIS on surface temperatures. ERF and efficacy of LGM LIS are −3.2 W m−2 and 1.1, respectively. The larger-than-unity efficacy is caused by the temperature changes over land and the Northern Hemisphere subtropical oceans which are relatively larger than those in response to a doubling of atmospheric CO2. The subtropical sea-surface temperature (SST) response is linked to LIS-induced wind changes and feedbacks in ocean–atmosphere coupling and clouds. ERF and efficacy of LGM GHG are −2.8 W m−2 and 0.9, respectively. The lower efficacy is primarily attributed to a smaller cloud feedback at colder temperatures. Our simulations further demonstrate that the direct ECS calculation using the forcing, efficacy, and temperature response in CESM1.2 overestimates the true value in the model by approximately 25 % due to the neglect of slow ocean dynamical feedback. This is supported by the greater cooling (6.8 ∘C) in a fully coupled LGM simulation than that (5.3 ∘C) in a slab ocean model simulation with ocean dynamics disabled. The majority (67 %) of the ocean dynamical feedback is attributed to dynamical changes in the Southern Ocean, where interactions between upper-ocean stratification, heat transport, and sea-ice cover are found to amplify the LGM cooling. Our study demonstrates the value of climate models in the quantification of climate forcings and the ocean dynamical feedback, which is necessary for an accurate direct ECS estimation.more » « less
Single-forcing large ensembles are a relatively new tool for quantifying the contributions of different anthropogenic and natural forcings to the historical and future projected evolution of the climate system. This study introduces a new single-forcing large ensemble with the Community Earth System Model, version 2 (CESM2), which can be used to separate the influences of greenhouse gases, anthropogenic aerosols, biomass burning aerosols, and all remaining forcings on the evolution of the Earth system from 1850 to 2050. Here, the forced responses of global near-surface temperature and associated drivers are examined in CESM2 and compared with those in a single-forcing large ensemble with CESM2’s predecessor, CESM1. The experimental design, the imposed forcing, and the model physics all differ between the CESM1 and CESM2 ensembles. In CESM1, an “all-but-one” approach was used whereby everything except the forcing of interest is time evolving, while in CESM2 an “only” approach is used, whereby only the forcing of interest is time evolving. This experimental design choice is shown to matter considerably for anthropogenic aerosol-forced change in CESM2, due to state dependence of cryospheric albedo feedbacks and nonlinearity in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) response to forcing. This impact of experimental design is, however, strongly dependent on the model physics and/or the imposed forcing, as the same sensitivity to experimental design is not found in CESM1, which appears to be an inherently less nonlinear model in both its AMOC behavior and cryospheric feedbacks.
Abstract. Since the middle Miocene (15 Ma, million years ago), the Earth's climate has undergone a long-term cooling trend, characterised by a reduction in ocean temperatures of up to 7–8 ∘C. The causes of this cooling are primarily thought to be due to tectonic plate movements driving changes in large-scale ocean circulation patterns, and hence heat redistribution, in conjunction with a drop in atmospheric greenhouse gas forcing (and attendant ice-sheet growth and feedback). In this study, we assess the potential to constrain the evolving patterns of global ocean circulation and cooling over the last 15 Ma by assimilating a variety of marine sediment proxy data in an Earth system model. We do this by first compiling surface and benthic ocean temperature and benthic carbon-13 (δ13C) data in a series of seven time slices spaced at approximately 2.5 Myr intervals. We then pair this with a corresponding series of tectonic and climate boundary condition reconstructions in the cGENIE (“muffin” release) Earth system model, including alternative possibilities for an open vs. closed Central American Seaway (CAS) from 10 Ma onwards. In the cGENIE model, we explore uncertainty in greenhouse gas forcing and the magnitude of North Pacific to North Atlantic salinity flux adjustment required in the model to create an Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) of a specific strength, via a series of 12 (one for each tectonic reconstruction) 2D parameter ensembles. Each ensemble member is then tested against the observed global temperature and benthic δ13C patterns. We identify that a relatively high CO2 equivalent forcing of 1120 ppm is required at 15 Ma in cGENIE to reproduce proxy temperature estimates in the model, noting that this CO2 forcing is dependent on the cGENIE model's climate sensitivity and that it incorporates the effects of all greenhouse gases. We find that reproducing the observed long-term cooling trend requires a progressively declining greenhouse gas forcing in the model. In parallel to this, the strength of the AMOC increases with time despite a reduction in the salinity of the surface North Atlantic over the cooling period, attributable to falling intensity of the hydrological cycle and to lowering polar temperatures, both caused by CO2-driven global cooling. We also find that a closed CAS from 10 Ma to present shows better agreement between benthic δ13C patterns and our particular series of model configurations and data. A final outcome of our analysis is a pronounced ca. 1.5 ‰ decline occurring in atmospheric (and ca. 1 ‰ ocean surface) δ13C that could be used to inform future δ13C-based proxy reconstructions.more » « less
Abstract Do changes in ocean heat transport (OHT) that occur with CO 2 forcing, impact climate sensitivity in Earth system models? Changes in OHT with warming are ubiquitous in model experiments: when forced with CO 2 , such models exhibit declining poleward OHT in both hemispheres at most latitudes, which can persist over multicentennial time scales. To understand how changes in OHT may impact how the climate system responds to CO 2 forcing, particularly climate sensitivity, we perform a series of Earth system model experiments in which we systematically perturb OHT (in a slab ocean, relative to its preindustrial control climatology) while simultaneously doubling atmospheric CO 2 . We find that equilibrium climate sensitivity varies substantially with OHT. Specifically, there is a 0.6 K decrease in global mean surface warming for every 10% decline in poleward OHT. Radiative feedbacks from CO 2 doubling, and the warming attributable to each of them, generally become more positive (or less negative) when poleward OHT increases. Water vapor feedback differences account for approximately half the spread in climate sensitivity between experiments, while differences in the lapse rate and surface albedo feedbacks account for the rest. Prescribed changes in OHT instigate opposing changes in atmospheric energy transport and the general circulation, which explain differences in atmospheric water vapor and lapse rate between experiments. Our results show that changes in OHT modify atmospheric radiative feedbacks at all latitudes, thereby driving changes in equilibrium climate sensitivity. More broadly, they demonstrate that radiative feedbacks are not independent of the coupled (atmosphere and ocean) dynamic responses that accompany greenhouse gas forcing.more » « less
The processes controlling idealized warming and cooling patterns are examined in 150-yr-long fully coupled Community Earth System Model, version 1 (CESM1), experiments under abrupt CO2forcing. By simulation end, 2 × CO2global warming was 20% larger than 0.5 × CO2global cooling. Not only was the absolute global effective radiative forcing ∼10% larger for 2 × CO2than for 0.5 × CO2, global feedbacks were also less negative for 2 × CO2than for 0.5 × CO2. Specifically, more positive shortwave cloud feedbacks led to more 2 × CO2global warming than 0.5 × CO2global cooling. Over high-latitude oceans, differences between 2 × CO2warming and 0.5 × CO2cooling were amplified by familiar linked positive surface albedo and lapse rate feedbacks associated with sea ice change. At low latitudes, 2 × CO2warming exceeded 0.5 × CO2cooling almost everywhere. Tropical Pacific cloud feedbacks amplified the following: 1) more fast warming than fast cooling in the west, and 2) slow pattern differences between 2 × CO2warming and 0.5 × CO2cooling in the east. Motivated to quantify cloud influence, a companion suite of experiments was run without cloud radiative feedbacks. Disabling cloud radiative feedbacks reduced the effective radiative forcing and surface temperature responses for both 2 × CO2and 0.5 × CO2. Notably, 20% more global warming than global cooling occurred regardless of whether cloud feedbacks were enabled or disabled. This surprising consistency resulted from the cloud influence on non-cloud feedbacks and circulation. With the exception of the tropical Pacific, disabling cloud feedbacks did little to change surface temperature response patterns including the large high-latitude responses driven by non-cloud feedbacks. The findings provide new insights into the regional processes controlling the response to greenhouse gas forcing, especially for clouds.
We analyze the processing controlling idealized warming and cooling under abrupt CO2forcing using a modern and highly vetted fully coupled climate model. We were especially interested to compare simulations with and without cloud radiative feedbacks. Notably, 20% more global warming than global cooling occurred regardless of whether cloud feedbacks were enabled or disabled. This surprising consistency resulted from the cloud influence on forcing, non-cloud feedbacks, and circulation. With the exception of the tropical Pacific, disabling cloud feedbacks did little to change surface temperature response patterns including the large high-latitude responses driven by non-cloud feedbacks. The findings provide new insights into the regional processes controlling the response to greenhouse gas forcing, especially for clouds. When combined with estimates of cooling at the Last Glacial Maximum, the findings also help rule out large (4+ K) values of equilibrium climate sensitivity.