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How well do we understand and evaluate climate change feedback processes?

Bony, S., Colman, R., Kattsov, V.M., Allan, R.P., Bretherton, C.S., Hall, A., Hallegatte, S., Holland, M.M., Ingram, W., Randall, D.A., Soden, B.J., Tselioudis, G. and Webb, M.J. (2006) How well do we understand and evaluate climate change feedback processes? Journal of Climate, 19 (15). pp. 3445-3482. ISSN 1520-0442

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1175/JCLI3819.1

Abstract/Summary

Processes in the climate system that can either amplify or dampen the climate response to an external perturbation are referred to as climate feedbacks. Climate sensitivity estimates depend critically on radiative feedbacks associated with water vapor, lapse rate, clouds, snow, and sea ice, and global estimates of these feedbacks differ among general circulation models. By reviewing recent observational, numerical, and theoretical studies, this paper shows that there has been progress since the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in (i) the understanding of the physical mechanisms involved in these feedbacks, (ii) the interpretation of intermodel differences in global estimates of these feedbacks, and (iii) the development of methodologies of evaluation of these feedbacks (or of some components) using observations. This suggests that continuing developments in climate feedback research will progressively help make it possible to constrain the GCMs’ range of climate feedbacks and climate sensitivity through an ensemble of diagnostics based on physical understanding and observations.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Environmental Systems Science Centre
ID Code:1610
Uncontrolled Keywords:GENERAL-CIRCULATION MODELS; WATER-VAPOR FEEDBACK; SEA-SURFACE TEMPERATURE; UPPER-TROPOSPHERIC HUMIDITY; RADIATION BUDGET EXPERIMENT; CLOUD LIQUID WATER; ICE-THICKNESS DISTRIBUTION; LARGE-SCALE CIRCULATION; SNOW-ALBEDO FEEDBACK; RELATIVE-HUMIDITY
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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