28 February 2019

Do Southern Ocean Cloud Feedbacks Matter for 21st-Century Warming?


Recent work has shown that cloud feedbacks over the Southern Ocean can substantially influence equilibrium climate sensitivity. Are these feedbacks important for transient warming that we expect to see in the near future? Model simulations of transient warming with adjustments Southern Ocean clouds in CESM are compared against transient warming simulations without any adjustments. Feedbacks are diagnosed using radiative kernels. In these simulations, transient warming is very similar between the two sets of simulations. This is attributed to ocean heat uptake patterns that compensate for the differences in cloud feedbacks.

Angeline Pendergrass
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Frey, W, E Maroon, A Pendergrass, and J Kay.  2018.  "Do Southern Ocean Cloud Feedbacks Matter for 21st-Century Warming?"  Geophysical Research Letters 44(24): 12447-12456, doi:10.1002/2017gl076339.