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

Sensitivity of Surface Temperature to Oceanic Forcing via q-Flux Green’s Function Experiments. Part III: Asymmetric Response to Warming and Cooling

TitleSensitivity of Surface Temperature to Oceanic Forcing via q-Flux Green’s Function Experiments. Part III: Asymmetric Response to Warming and Cooling
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume33
Number4
Pages1283-1297
Abstract / Summary

Climate response is often assumed to be linear in climate sensitivity studies. However, by examining the surface temperature (TS) response to pairs of oceanic forcings of equal amplitude but opposite sign in a large set of local q-flux perturbation experiments with CAM5 coupled to a slab, we find strong asymmetry in TS responses to the heating and cooling forcings, indicating a strong nonlinearity intrinsic to the climate system examined. Regardless of where the symmetric forcing is placed, the cooling response to the negative forcing always exceeds the warming to the positive forcing, implying an intrinsic inclination toward cooling of our current climate. Thus, the ongoing global warming induced by increasing greenhouse gases may have already been alleviated by the asymmetric component of the response. The common asymmetry in TS response peaks in high latitudes, especially along sea ice edges, with notable seasonal dependence. Decomposition into different radiative feedbacks through a radiative kernel indicates that the asymmetry in the TS response is realized largely through lapse rate and albedo feedbacks. Further process interference experiments disabling the seasonal cycle and/or sea ice reveal that the asymmetry originates ultimately from the presence of the sea ice component and is further amplified by the seasonal cycle. The fact that a pair of opposite tropical q-flux forcings can excite very similar asymmetric response as a pair placed at 55°S strongly suggests the asymmetric response is a manifestation of an internal mode of the climate model system.

URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1175/jcli-d-19-0131.1
DOI10.1175/jcli-d-19-0131.1
Journal: Journal of Climate
Year of Publication: 2020
Volume: 33
Number: 4
Pages: 1283-1297
Publication Date: 02/2020

Climate response is often assumed to be linear in climate sensitivity studies. However, by examining the surface temperature (TS) response to pairs of oceanic forcings of equal amplitude but opposite sign in a large set of local q-flux perturbation experiments with CAM5 coupled to a slab, we find strong asymmetry in TS responses to the heating and cooling forcings, indicating a strong nonlinearity intrinsic to the climate system examined. Regardless of where the symmetric forcing is placed, the cooling response to the negative forcing always exceeds the warming to the positive forcing, implying an intrinsic inclination toward cooling of our current climate. Thus, the ongoing global warming induced by increasing greenhouse gases may have already been alleviated by the asymmetric component of the response. The common asymmetry in TS response peaks in high latitudes, especially along sea ice edges, with notable seasonal dependence. Decomposition into different radiative feedbacks through a radiative kernel indicates that the asymmetry in the TS response is realized largely through lapse rate and albedo feedbacks. Further process interference experiments disabling the seasonal cycle and/or sea ice reveal that the asymmetry originates ultimately from the presence of the sea ice component and is further amplified by the seasonal cycle. The fact that a pair of opposite tropical q-flux forcings can excite very similar asymmetric response as a pair placed at 55°S strongly suggests the asymmetric response is a manifestation of an internal mode of the climate model system.

DOI: 10.1175/jcli-d-19-0131.1
Citation:
Liu, F, J Lu, Y Huang, L Leung, B Harrop, and Y Luo.  2020.  "Sensitivity of Surface Temperature to Oceanic Forcing via q-Flux Green’s Function Experiments. Part III: Asymmetric Response to Warming and Cooling."  Journal of Climate 33(4): 1283-1297.  https://doi.org/10.1175/jcli-d-19-0131.1.