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
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.