Biological and Environmental Research - Earth and Environmental System Sciences
Earth and Environmental System Modeling

Quantifying the Influence of Cloud Radiative Feedbacks on Arctic Surface Warming Using Cloud Locking in an Earth System Model

TitleQuantifying the Influence of Cloud Radiative Feedbacks on Arctic Surface Warming Using Cloud Locking in an Earth System Model
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume47
Number15
Abstract / Summary

Understanding the influence of clouds on amplified Arctic surface warming remains an important unsolved research problem. Here, this cloud influence is directly quantified by disabling cloud radiative feedbacks or “cloud locking” within a state‐of‐the‐art and well‐documented model. Through comparison of idealized greenhouse warming experiments with and without cloud locking, the influence of Arctic and global cloud feedbacks is assessed. Global cloud feedbacks increase both global and Arctic warming by around 25%. In contrast, disabling Arctic cloud feedbacks has a negligible influence on both Arctic and global surface warming. Interestingly, the sum of noncloud radiative feedbacks does not change with either global or Arctic‐only cloud locking. Notably, the influence of Arctic cloud feedbacks is likely underestimated, because, like many models, the model used here underestimates high‐latitude supercooled cloud liquid. More broadly, this work demonstrates the value of regional and global cloud locking in a well‐characterized model.

URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2020gl089207
DOI10.1029/2020gl089207
Journal: Geophysical Research Letters
Year of Publication: 2020
Volume: 47
Number: 15
Publication Date: 08/2020

Understanding the influence of clouds on amplified Arctic surface warming remains an important unsolved research problem. Here, this cloud influence is directly quantified by disabling cloud radiative feedbacks or “cloud locking” within a state‐of‐the‐art and well‐documented model. Through comparison of idealized greenhouse warming experiments with and without cloud locking, the influence of Arctic and global cloud feedbacks is assessed. Global cloud feedbacks increase both global and Arctic warming by around 25%. In contrast, disabling Arctic cloud feedbacks has a negligible influence on both Arctic and global surface warming. Interestingly, the sum of noncloud radiative feedbacks does not change with either global or Arctic‐only cloud locking. Notably, the influence of Arctic cloud feedbacks is likely underestimated, because, like many models, the model used here underestimates high‐latitude supercooled cloud liquid. More broadly, this work demonstrates the value of regional and global cloud locking in a well‐characterized model.

DOI: 10.1029/2020gl089207
Citation:
Middlemas, E, J Kay, B Medeiros, and E Maroon.  2020.  "Quantifying the Influence of Cloud Radiative Feedbacks on Arctic Surface Warming Using Cloud Locking in an Earth System Model."  Geophysical Research Letters 47(15).  https://doi.org/10.1029/2020gl089207.