New Generation of Climate Models Track Recent Unprecedented Changes in Earth's Radiation Budget Observed by CERES

Norman G. Loeb, Hailan Wang, Richard P. Allan, Timothy Andrews, Kyle Armour, Jason N.S. Cole, Jean Louis Dufresne, Piers Forster, Andrew Gettelman, Huan Guo, Thorsten Mauritsen, Yi Ming, David Paynter, Cristian Proistosescu, Malte F. Stuecker, Ulrika Willén, Klaus Wyser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We compare top-of-atmosphere (TOA) radiative fluxes observed by the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) and simulated by seven general circulation models forced with observed sea-surface temperature (SST) and sea-ice boundary conditions. In response to increased SSTs along the equator and over the eastern Pacific (EP) following the so-called global warming “hiatus” of the early 21st century, simulated TOA flux changes are remarkably similar to CERES. Both show outgoing shortwave and longwave TOA flux changes that largely cancel over the west and central tropical Pacific, and large reductions in shortwave flux for EP low-cloud regions. A model's ability to represent changes in the relationship between global mean net TOA flux and surface temperature depends upon how well it represents shortwave flux changes in low-cloud regions, with most showing too little sensitivity to EP SST changes, suggesting a “pattern effect” that may be too weak compared to observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2019GL086705
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume47
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 16 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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