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Equilibrium climate sensitivity estimated by equilibrating climate models

Rugenstein, M., Bloch-Johnson, J. ORCID:, Gregory, J., Andrews, T., Mauritsen, T., Li, C., Frӧlicher, T. L., Paynter, D., Danabasoglu, G., Yang, S., Dufresne, J.-L., Cao, L., Schmidt, G. A., Abe-Ouchi, A., Geoffroy, O. and Knutti, R. (2020) Equilibrium climate sensitivity estimated by equilibrating climate models. Geophysical Research Letters, 47 (4). e2019GL083898. ISSN 0094-8276

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/2019GL083898


The methods to quantify equilibrium climate sensitivity are still debated. We collect millennial‐length simulations of coupled climate models and show that the global mean equilibrium warming is higher than those obtained using extrapolation methods from shorter simulations. Specifically, 27 simulations with 15 climate models forced with a range of CO2 concentrations show a median 17% larger equilibrium warming than estimated from the first 150 years of the simulations. The spatial patterns of radiative feedbacks change continuously, in most regions reducing their tendency to stabilizing the climate. In the equatorial Pacific, however, feedbacks become more stabilizing with time. The global feedback evolution is initially dominated by the tropics, with eventual substantial contributions from the mid‐latitudes. Time‐dependent feedbacks underscore the need of a measure of climate sensitivity that accounts for the degree of equilibration, so that models, observations, and paleo proxies can be adequately compared and aggregated to estimate future warming. Key points 27 simulations of 15 general circulation models are integrated to near equilibrium All models simulate a higher equilibrium warming than predicted by using extrapolation methods Tropics and mid‐latitudes dominate the change of the feedback parameter on different timescales on millennial timescales

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
ID Code:87462
Publisher:American Geophysical Union


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