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  Dependence of climate sensitivity on the given distribution of relative humidity

Bourdin, S., Kluft, L., & Stevens, B. (2021). Dependence of climate sensitivity on the given distribution of relative humidity. Geophysical Research Letters, 48: e2021GL092462. doi:10.1029/2021GL092462.

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 Creators:
Bourdin, Stella1, Author
Kluft, Lukas2, 3, Author              
Stevens, Bjorn1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Director’s Research Group AES, The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society, ou_913570              
2IMPRS on Earth System Modelling, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society, ou_913547              
3Global Circulation and Climate, The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society, Bundesstraße 53, 20146 Hamburg, DE, ou_3001850              

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 Abstract: We study how the vertical distribution of relative humidity (RH) affects climate sensitivity, even if it remains unchanged with warming. Using a radiative-convective equilibrium model, we show that the climate sensitivity depends on the shape of a fixed vertical distribution of humidity, tending to be higher for atmospheres with higher humidity. We interpret these effects in terms of the effective emission height of water vapor. Differences in the vertical distribution of RH are shown to explain a large part of the 0 to 30% differences in clear-sky sensitivity seen in climate and storm-resolving models. The results imply that convective aggregation reduces climate sensitivity, even when the degree of aggregation does not change with warming. Combining our findings with relative humidity trends in reanalysis data shows a tendency toward Earth becoming more sensitive to forcing over time. These trends and their height variation merit further study.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-01-122021-04-062021-032021-04-28
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
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 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1029/2021GL092462
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Title: Geophysical Research Letters
  Abbreviation : GRL
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Washington, D.C. : American Geophysical Union / Wiley
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 48 Sequence Number: e2021GL092462 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 0094-8276
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925465217