U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Climate Feedback Study Reveals Important Properties About Clouds
Published: January 10, 2011
Posted: January 14, 2011

Climate models exhibit a range of sensitivities in response to increased greenhouse gases, feedbacks that are crucial to our understanding of climate sensitivity. Many parameters in climate models exhibit uncertainties and changes in these parameters result in different model predictions of climate responses. In this DOE funded study, feedback analysis is applied to a complex, multiparameter ensemble of climate models revealing links between uncertain climate model parameters and climatic responses to greenhouse gas forcing. The analysis breaks down the response of the climate system to greenhouse gas forcing into a sum of different feedbacks in clouds, water vapor and the land surface. One result of this study indicates that parameters governing cloud formation, convection strength, and ice fall speed are the most significant in altering climate feedbacks.

Reference:Sanderson, B.M., K.M. Shell, and W.Imgram. 2010. "Cimate Feedbacks Determined Using Radiative Kernels in a Multi-Thousand Member Ensemble of AOGCMs," Climate Dynamics 35:1219–36. DOI 10.1007/s00382-009-0661-1

Contact: Renu Joseph, SC-23.1, (301) 903-9237, Dorothy Koch, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0105
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling
  • Research Area: Atmospheric System Research

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER


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