Intercomparison of the capabilities of simplified climate models to project the effects of aviation CO2 on climate

Arezoo Khodayari, Donald J. Wuebbles, Seth C. Olsen, Jan S. Fuglestvedt, Terje Berntsen, Marianne T. Lund, Ian Waitz, Philip Wolfe, Piers M. Forster, Malte Meinshausen, David S. Lee, Ling L. Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study evaluates the capabilities of the carbon cycle and energy balance treatments relative to the effect of aviation CO2 emissions on climate in several existing simplified climate models (SCMs) that are either being used or could be used for evaluating the effects of aviation on climate. Since these models are used in policy-related analyses, it is important that the capabilities of such models represent the state of understanding of the science. We compare the Aviation Environmental Portfolio Management Tool (APMT) Impacts climate model, two models used at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research-Oslo (CICERO-1 and CICERO-2), the Integrated Science Assessment Model (ISAM) model as described in Jain etal. (1994), the simple Linear Climate response model (LinClim) and the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse-gas Induced Climate Change version 6 (MAGICC6). In this paper we select scenarios to illustrate the behavior of the carbon cycle and energy balance models in these SCMs. This study is not intended to determine the absolute and likely range of the expected climate response in these models but to highlight specific features in model representations of the carbon cycle and energy balance models that need to be carefully considered in studies of aviation effects on climate. These results suggest that carbon cycle models that use linear impulse-response-functions (IRF) in combination with separate equations describing air-sea and air-biosphere exchange of CO2 can account for the dominant nonlinearities in the climate system that would otherwise not have been captured with an IRF alone, and hence, produce a close representation of more complex carbon cycle models. Moreover, results suggest that an energy balance model with a 2-box ocean sub-model and IRF tuned to reproduce the response of coupled Earth system models produces a close representation of the globally-averaged temperature response of more complex energy balance models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-328
Number of pages8
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Carbon cycle
  • Climate change
  • Energy balance model
  • Simple climate models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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