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Inhomogeneous Forcing and Transient Climate SensitivityUnderstanding climate sensitivity is critical to projecting climate change in response to a given forcing scenario. Recent analyses have suggested that transient climate sensitivity is at the low end of the present model range taking into account the reduced warming rates during the past 10-15 years during which forcing has increased markedly. In contrast, comparisons of modelled feedback processes with observations indicate that the most realistic models have higher sensitivities. Here I analyse results from recent climate modelling intercomparison projects to demonstrate that transient climate sensitivity to historical aerosols and ozone is substantially greater than the transient climate sensitivity to CO2. This enhanced sensitivity is primarily caused by more of the forcing being located at Northern Hemisphere middle to high latitudes where it triggers more rapid land responses and stronger feedbacks. I find that accounting for this enhancement largely reconciles the two sets of results, and I conclude that the lowest end of the range of transient climate response to CO2 in present models and assessments (less than 1.3 C) is very unlikely.
Document ID
20140011847
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Authors
Shindell, Drew T. (NASA Goddard Inst. for Space Studies New York, NY United States)
Date Acquired
September 17, 2014
Publication Date
March 9, 2014
Publication Information
Publication: Nature Climate Change
Volume: 4
Issue: 4
Subject Category
Meteorology and Climatology
Report/Patent Number
GSFC-E-DAA-TN11932
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: WBS 509496.02.08.04.24
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
Keywords
sensitivity
climate
carbon dioxide
climate change

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