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  • Lambert, F. H. and M. J. Webb, 2008: Dependency of global precipitation on surface temperature. Geophys. Res. Lett.. In press.

We investigate the causes of temperature dependent
changes in global precipitation in contemporary General Circulation
Models (GCMs) subjected to a doubling of atmospheric CO$_2$
concentration. By analyzing the energy budget of the troposphere, we
find that changes are dominated by processes robustly simulated by
GCMs. Importantly, shortwave cloud feedbacks,
whose uncertainty is largely responsible for the wide range of GCM
temperature climate sensitivities, are shown to have little effect.
This is because these mainly arise from the scattering of
shortwave radiation that has little impact on the tropospheric heating
that controls precipitation. Hence, we expect that the range of
simulated precipitation sensitivities to temperature will not change
greatly in future GCMs, despite the recent suggestion that satellite
observations indicate that GCM precipitation changes are significantly
in error.


Last Updated: 2008-08-26

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