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Land/sea warming ratio in response to climate change: IPCC AR4 model results and comparison with observations

Sutton, R., Dong, B. and Gregory, J. (2007) Land/sea warming ratio in response to climate change: IPCC AR4 model results and comparison with observations. Geophysical Research Letters, 34. L02701. ISSN 0094-8276

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1029/2006GL028164

Abstract/Summary

Climate model simulations consistently show that in response to greenhouse gas forcing surface temperatures over land increase more rapidly than over sea. The enhanced warming over land is not simply a transient effect, since it is also present in equilibrium conditions. We examine 20 models from the IPCC AR4 database. The global land/sea warming ratio varies in the range 1.36–1.84, independent of global mean temperature change. In the presence of increasing radiative forcing, the warming ratio for a single model is fairly constant in time, implying that the land/sea temperature difference increases with time. The warming ratio varies with latitude, with a minimum in equatorial latitudes, and maxima in the subtropics. A simple explanation for these findings is provided, and comparisons are made with observations. For the low-latitude (40°S–40°N) mean, the models suggest a warming ratio of 1.51 ± 0.13, while recent observations suggest a ratio of 1.54 ± 0.09.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:804
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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