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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 8, 2022
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 20, 2022
  3. Abstract Different oceanic and atmospheric mechanisms have been proposed to describe the response of the tropical Pacific to global warming, yet large uncertainties persist on their relative importance and potential interaction. Here, we use idealized experiments forced with a wide range of both abrupt and gradual CO2 increases in a coupled climate model (CESM) together with a simplified box model to explore the interaction between, and time scales of, different mechanisms driving Walker circulation changes. We find a robust transient response to CO2 forcing across all simulations, lasting between 20 and 100 years, depending on how abruptly the system ismore »perturbed. This initial response is characterized by the strengthening of the Indo-Pacific zonal SST gradient and a westward shift of the Walker cell. In contrast, the equilibrium response, emerging after 50–100 years, is characterized by a warmer cold tongue, reduced zonal winds, and a weaker Walker cell. The magnitude of the equilibrium response in the fully coupled model is set primarily by enhanced extratropical warming and weaker oceanic subtropical cells, reducing the supply of cold water to equatorial upwelling. In contrast, in the slab ocean simulations, the weakening of the Walker cell is more modest and driven by differential evaporative cooling along the equator. The “weaker Walker” mechanism implied by atmospheric energetics is also observed for the midtroposphere vertical velocity, but its surface manifestation is not robust. Correctly diagnosing the balance between these transient and equilibrium responses will improve understanding of ongoing and future climate change in the tropical Pacific.« less
  4. Abstract. Accurate estimates of past global mean surface temperature (GMST) help tocontextualise future climate change and are required to estimate thesensitivity of the climate system to CO2 forcing through Earth's history.Previous GMST estimates for the latest Paleocene and early Eocene(∼57 to 48 million years ago) span a wide range(∼9 to 23 ∘C higher than pre-industrial) andprevent an accurate assessment of climate sensitivity during this extremegreenhouse climate interval. Using the most recent data compilations, weemploy a multi-method experimental framework to calculate GMST during thethree DeepMIP target intervals: (1) the latest Paleocene (∼57 Ma), (2) the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM; 56 Ma), and (3) the earlyEocene Climaticmore »Optimum (EECO; 53.3 to 49.1 Ma). Using six differentmethodologies, we find that the average GMST estimate (66 % confidence)during the latest Paleocene, PETM, and EECO was 26.3 ∘C (22.3 to28.3 ∘C), 31.6 ∘C (27.2 to 34.5 ∘C), and27.0 ∘C (23.2 to 29.7 ∘C), respectively. GMST estimatesfrom the EECO are ∼10 to 16 ∘C warmer thanpre-industrial, higher than the estimate given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5thAssessment Report (9 to 14 ∘C higher than pre-industrial).Leveraging the large “signal” associated with these extreme warm climates,we combine estimates of GMST and CO2 from the latest Paleocene, PETM,and EECO to calculate gross estimates of the average climate sensitivitybetween the early Paleogene and today. We demonstrate that “bulk”equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS; 66 % confidence) during the latestPaleocene, PETM, and EECO is 4.5 ∘C (2.4 to 6.8 ∘C),3.6 ∘C (2.3 to 4.7 ∘C), and 3.1 ∘C (1.8 to4.4 ∘C) per doubling of CO2. These values are generallysimilar to those assessed by the IPCC (1.5 to 4.5 ∘C per doublingCO2) but appear incompatible with low ECS values (<1.5 perdoubling CO2).« less