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Beyond forcing scenarios: predicting climate change through response operators in a coupled general circulation model

Lembo, V., Lucarini, V. and Ragone, F. (2020) Beyond forcing scenarios: predicting climate change through response operators in a coupled general circulation model. Scientific Reports, 10 (1). 8668. ISSN 2045-2322

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-65297-2


Global Climate Models are key tools for predicting the future response of the climate system to a variety of natural and anthropogenic forcings. Here we show how to use statistical mechanics to construct operators able to flexibly predict climate change for a variety of climatic variables of interest. We perform our study on a fully coupled model - MPI-ESM v.1.2 - and for the first time we prove the effectiveness of response theory in predicting future climate response to CO2 increase on a vast range of temporal scales, from inter-annual to centennial, and for very diverse climatic quantities. We investigate within a unified perspective the transient climate response and the equilibrium climate sensitivity and assess the role of fast and slow processes. The prediction of the ocean heat uptake highlights the very slow relaxation to a newly established steady state. The change in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is accurately predicted. The AMOC strength is initially reduced and then undergoes a slow and only partial recovery. The ACC strength initially increases as a result of changes in the wind stress, then undergoes a slowdown, followed by a recovery leading to a overshoot with respect to the initial value. Finally, we are able to predict accurately the temperature change in the Northern Atlantic.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for the Mathematics of Planet Earth (CMPE)
ID Code:90344
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group


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