The climate response to CO2 of the Hadley Centre coupled AOGCM with and without flux adjustment
Gregory, J. M. and Mitchell, J. F. B. (1997) The climate response to CO2 of the Hadley Centre coupled AOGCM with and without flux adjustment. Geophysical Research Letters, 24 (15). pp. 1943-1946. ISSN 0094-8276
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/97GL01930
Coupled atmosphere‐ocean general circulation models have a tendency to drift away from a realistic climatology. The modelled climate response to an increase of CO2 concentration may be incorrect if the simulation of the current climate has significant errors, so in many models, including ours, the drift is counteracted by applying prescribed fluxes of heat and fresh water at the ocean‐atmosphere interface in addition to the calculated surface exchanges. Since the additional fluxes do not have a physical basis, the use of this technique of “flux adjustment” itself introduces some uncertainty in the simulated response to increased CO2. We find that the global‐average temperature response of our model to CO2 increasing at 1% per year is about 30% less without flux adjustment than with flux adjustment. The geographical patterns of the response are similar, indicating that flux adjustment is not causing any gross distortion. The reduced size of the response is due to more effective vertical transport of heat into the ocean, and a somewhat smaller climate sensitivity. Although the response in both cases lies within the generally accepted range for the climate sensitivity, systematic uncertainties of this size are clearly undesirable, and the best strategy for future development is to improve the climate model in order to reduce the need for flux adjustment.