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Title: Observational constraints on mixed-phase clouds imply higher climate sensitivity

Abstract

Global climate model (GCM) estimates of the equilibrium global mean surface temperature response to a doubling of atmospheric CO2, measured by the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), range from 2.0° to 4.6°C. Clouds are among the leading causes of this uncertainty. Here, in this paper, we show that the ECS can be up to 1.3°C higher in simulations where mixed-phase clouds consisting of ice crystals and supercooled liquid droplets are constrained by global satellite observations. The higher ECS estimates are directly linked to a weakened cloud-phase feedback arising from a decreased cloud glaciation rate in a warmer climate. Finally, we point out the need for realistic representations of the supercooled liquid fraction in mixed-phase clouds in GCMs, given the sensitivity of the ECS to the cloud-phase feedback.

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1355851
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1409950
Report Number(s):
LLNL-JRNL-735511
Journal ID: ISSN 0036-8075; 352/6282/224
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0012580; AC52-07NA27344
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Science
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Science Journal Volume: 352 Journal Issue: 6282; Journal ID: ISSN 0036-8075
Publisher:
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES

Citation Formats

Tan, I., Storelvmo, T., and Zelinka, M. D. Observational constraints on mixed-phase clouds imply higher climate sensitivity. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1126/science.aad5300.
Tan, I., Storelvmo, T., & Zelinka, M. D. Observational constraints on mixed-phase clouds imply higher climate sensitivity. United States. doi:10.1126/science.aad5300.
Tan, I., Storelvmo, T., and Zelinka, M. D. Thu . "Observational constraints on mixed-phase clouds imply higher climate sensitivity". United States. doi:10.1126/science.aad5300.
@article{osti_1355851,
title = {Observational constraints on mixed-phase clouds imply higher climate sensitivity},
author = {Tan, I. and Storelvmo, T. and Zelinka, M. D.},
abstractNote = {Global climate model (GCM) estimates of the equilibrium global mean surface temperature response to a doubling of atmospheric CO2, measured by the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), range from 2.0° to 4.6°C. Clouds are among the leading causes of this uncertainty. Here, in this paper, we show that the ECS can be up to 1.3°C higher in simulations where mixed-phase clouds consisting of ice crystals and supercooled liquid droplets are constrained by global satellite observations. The higher ECS estimates are directly linked to a weakened cloud-phase feedback arising from a decreased cloud glaciation rate in a warmer climate. Finally, we point out the need for realistic representations of the supercooled liquid fraction in mixed-phase clouds in GCMs, given the sensitivity of the ECS to the cloud-phase feedback.},
doi = {10.1126/science.aad5300},
journal = {Science},
number = 6282,
volume = 352,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {4}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad5300

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Cited by: 149 works
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