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  1. 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 themore »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.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2022
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 16, 2022
  3. As the world warms, there is a profound need to improve projections of climate change. Although the latest Earth system models offer an unprecedented number of features, fundamental uncertainties continue to cloud our view of the future. Past climates provide the only opportunity to observe how the Earth system responds to high carbon dioxide, underlining a fundamental role for paleoclimatology in constraining future climate change. Here, we review the relevancy of paleoclimate information for climate prediction and discuss the prospects for emerging methodologies to further insights gained from past climates. Advances in proxy methods and interpretations pave the way formore »the use of past climates for model evaluation—a practice that we argue should be widely adopted.« less
  4. Water-stable isotopes in polar ice cores are a widely used temperature proxy in paleoclimate reconstruction, yet calibration remains challenging in East Antarctica. Here, we reconstruct the magnitude and spatial pattern of Last Glacial Maximum surface cooling in Antarctica using borehole thermometry and firn properties in seven ice cores. West Antarctic sites cooled ~10°C relative to the preindustrial period. East Antarctic sites show a range from ~4° to ~7°C cooling, which is consistent with the results of global climate models when the effects of topographic changes indicated with ice core air-content data are included, but less than those indicated with themore »use of water-stable isotopes calibrated against modern spatial gradients. An altered Antarctic temperature inversion during the glacial reconciles our estimates with water-isotope observations.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 4, 2022