Changes in global net radiative imbalance 1985-2012
Allan, R. P., Liu, C., Loeb, N. G., Palmer, M. D., Roberts, M., Smith, D. and Vidale, P.-L. (2014) Changes in global net radiative imbalance 1985-2012. Geophysical Research Letters, 41 (15). pp. 5588-5597. ISSN 0094-8276
To link to this article DOI: 10.1002/2014GL060962
Combining satellite data, atmospheric reanalyses and climate model simulations, variability in the net downward radiative flux imbalance at the top of Earth's atmosphere (N) is reconstructed and linked to recent climate change. Over the 1985-1999 period mean N (0.34 ± 0.67 Wm–2) is lower than for the 2000-2012 period (0.62 ± 0.43 Wm–2, uncertainties at 90% confidence level) despite the slower rate of surface temperature rise since 2000. While the precise magnitude of N remains uncertain, the reconstruction captures interannual variability which is dominated by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 and the El Niño Southern Oscillation. Monthly deseasonalized interannual variability in N generated by an ensemble of 9 climate model simulations using prescribed sea surface temperature and radiative forcings and from the satellite-based reconstruction is significantly correlated (r ∼ 0.6) over the 1985-2012 period.