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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)