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Footprint of dynamical amplifier of global warmings at the TOA

PI: Ming Cai
Institution: Florida State University
Additional Investigators: Christelle Castet
Abstract:
The largest warmings over the last several decades were observed in high latitudes. Cai (2004) proposed that part of the large amplitude climate warmings in high latitudes can be explained by the so-called “dynamical amplifier” mechanism. The dynamical amplifier mechanism requires a net increase of poleward heat transport due to an increase of greenhouse gases. Such an enhanced poleward heat transport must imply that an increase in net radiation energy surplus (deficit) in low- (high-) latitudes. Therefore, one can deduce the high-latitude surface warmings due to the dynamical amplifier feedback from the change of deficit (surplus) of the net radiation flux at the top of the atmosphere (TOA). It should be emphasized here that one would not be able to identify such a change in the net radiation flux at the TOA if the amplified warmings in high latitudes were caused by local thermodynamic feedbacks (e.g., ice-albedo feedback) only.

The radiation energy budget at the TOA can be used to directly address if the poleward heat transport has been intensified or not. We are planning to carry out the budget analysis using the ERA40 and NCEP/NCAR reanalysis, and climate simulations produced by various centers available at the PCMDI website. We wish to confirm if the climate simulations produced by these centers show an enhanced poleward heat transports when the models are forced with anthropogenic forcings. If so, what is the relation between the amount of high-latitude warmings and the change in the highlatitude radiation deficit at the TOA. We hope to quantify the uncertainties of the climate model simulations and separate those factors that are associated with circulation changes from those that are related local thermodynamics feedbacks.
Publications:
  • Cai, Ming, 2006: Dynamical greenhouse-plus feedback and polar warming amplification. Part I: A dry radiative-transportive climate model. Climate Dynamics, 104, 15, DOI 10.1007/s00382-005-0104-6. Abstract. Edit.
  • Cai,Ming, 2005: Dynamical Amplification of Polar Warming. Geophys. Research Letters, 32, 4, doi:10.1029/2005GL024481. Abstract. Edit.
  • Castet, Christelle, 2005: FOOTPRINT OF THE DYNAMICAL AMPLIFIER OF GLOBAL WARMING AND ATTRIBUTION OF MODELS’ UNCERTAINTIES. M.S. Thesis, Department of Meteorology, Florida State University, 48. Abstract. Edit.
  • Sun, S., and R. Bleck, 2006: Multi-Century Simulations with the Coupled GISS-HYCOM. Climate Dynamics, 26, 407-428, doi:10.1007/s00382-005-0091-7. Abstract. Edit.

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