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Journal Article

Robust increase in equilibrium climate sensitivity under global warming

MPS-Authors

Meraner,  Katharina
IMPRS on Earth System Modelling, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Mauritsen,  Thorsten
Climate Dynamics, The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Voigt,  Aiko
Climate Dynamics, The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Fulltext (public)

grl51117.pdf
(Publisher version), 546KB

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Citation

Meraner, K., Mauritsen, T., & Voigt, A. (2013). Robust increase in equilibrium climate sensitivity under global warming. Geophysical Research Letters, 40, 5944-5948. doi:10.1002/2013GL058118.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0014-BAE1-9
Abstract
Equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) is a widely accepted measure of Earth's susceptibility to radiative forcing. While ECS is often assumed to be constant to a first order of approximation, recent studies suggested that ECS might depend on the climate state. Here it is shown that the latest generation of climate models consistently exhibits an increasing ECS in warmer climates due to a strengthening of the water-vapor feedback with increasing surface temperatures. The increasing ECS is replicated by a one-dimensional radiative-convective equilibrium model, which further shows that the enhanced water-vapor feedback follows from the rising of the tropopause in a warming climate. This mechanism is potentially important for understanding both warm climates of Earth's past and projections of future high-emission scenarios.