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Title: The Active Role of the Ocean in the Temporal Evolution of Climate Sensitivity

Here, the temporal evolution of the effective climate sensitivity is shown to be influenced by the changing pattern of sea surface temperature (SST) and ocean heat uptake (OHU), which in turn have been attributed to ocean circulation changes. A set of novel experiments are performed to isolate the active role of the ocean by comparing a fully coupled CO 2 quadrupling community Earth System Model (CESM) simulation against a partially coupled one, where the effect of the ocean circulation change and its impact on surface fluxes are disabled. The active OHU is responsible for the reduced effective climate sensitivity and weaker surface warming response in the fully coupled simulation. The passive OHU excites qualitatively similar feedbacks to CO 2 quadrupling in a slab ocean model configuration due to the similar SST spatial pattern response in both experiments. Additionally, the nonunitary forcing efficacy of the active OHU (1.7) explains the very different net feedback parameters in the fully and partially coupled responses.
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  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  2. Univ. of China and National Lab. for Marine Science and Technology, Qinqdao (China)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276; TRN: US1801497
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830; AC02-05CH11231
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 45; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Climate sensitivity; Ocean heat uptake; Ocean circulation change; Radiative Feedbacks; Air-sea interactions; climate; ocean heat uptake; OHU; ocean; SST
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1421323; OSTI ID: 1464415