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A stochastic analysis of the impact of small-scale fluctuations on the tropospheric temperature response to CO2 doubling

MPS-Authors
/persons/resource/persons37332

Seiffert,  R.
The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;
The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;
Ocean Statistics, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;
IMPRS on Earth System Modelling, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons37369

von Storch,  J.-S.
The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;
Ocean Statistics, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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JClim_23-2307.pdf
(Publisher version), 860KB

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Citation

Seiffert, R., & von Storch, J.-S. (2010). A stochastic analysis of the impact of small-scale fluctuations on the tropospheric temperature response to CO2 doubling. Journal of Climate, 23, 2307-2319. doi:10.1175/2009JCLI3043.1.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0011-F604-0
Abstract
The climate response to increased CO2 concentration is generally studied using climate models that have finite spatial and temporal resolutions. Different parameterizations of the effect of unresolved processes can result in different representations of small-scale fluctuations in the climate model. The representation of small-scale fluctuations can, on the other hand, affect the modeled climate response. In this study the mechanisms by which enhanced small-scale fluctuations alter the climate response to CO2 doubling are investigated. Climate experiments with preindustrial and doubled CO2 concentrations obtained from a comprehensive climate model [ECHAM5/Max Planck Institute Ocean Model (MPI-OM)] are analyzed both with and without enhanced small-scale fluctuations. By applying a stochastic model to the experimental results, two different mechanisms are found. First, the small-scale fluctuations can change the statistical behavior of the global mean temperature as measured by its statistical damping. The statistical damping acts as a restoring force that determines, according to the fluctuation-dissipation theory, the amplitude of the climate response to a change in external forcing (here, CO2 doubling). Second, the small-scale fluctuations can affect processes that occur only in response to the CO2 increase, thereby altering the change of the effective forcing on the global mean temperature.