A two-dimensional radiative-convective model has been developed to calculate mean annual zonally-averaged temperature profiles for 18 latitudinal belts each of 10° width. The model includes meridional heat transport and impacts of surface albedo and lapse rate feedback mechanisms. In view of its flexibility and computational efficiency compared to a three-dimensional general circulation model, this model may serve as a useful tool in studying the climate sensitivity to external forcings. The model has been successfully applied to reproduce the meridional variation of climatic elements for the standard atmosphere. Next, the climate sensitivity to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 has been examined. The surface temperature response ranges from 1.6 °C near the equator to 4 °C in polar regions with a global mean of 2.1 °C. The meridional distribution of surface warming due to doubled CO2 simulated by our model agrees qualitatively with those obtained by NCAR and GFDL global circulation models in that the largest warmings in all three simulations are found at high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. An interesting feature of our findings is that the maximum response due to doubled CO2 tends to descend from the upper troposphere at low latitudes to the surface at high latitudes. The responses of the transport of sensible and latent heat are in opposite direction thus leading to only slight but positive changes in the total meridional heat flux.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science