Adjusted radiative forcing and global radiative feedbacks in CNRM-CM5, a closure of the partial decomposition

Abstract

This study provides a comprehensive global analysis of the climate radiative feedbacks and the adjusted radiative forcing for a CO2 increase perturbation in the CNRM-CM5 climate model using the partial radiative perturbations (PRP) method. Some methodological key points of the PRP are investigated, with a particular focus on the consideration of the effect of fast adjustments. First, the standard PRP method is applied by neglecting certain fast adjustments. The effect of the field decorrelation is highlighted by performing a PRP across two different periods of a control experiment and by analyzing second-order terms. Sensitivity tests to the field substitution frequency, the sampling period and the perturbed experiment used are performed. The impact of the definition of the top of the climate system (top-of-the-atmosphere or tropopause) in the feedback estimate is also discussed. Secondly, the fast adjustment processes are taken into account by combining the PRP framework with the method of linear regression of the partial net radiative flux change against the mean surface air temperature change using a step forcing experiment. This method allows us to quantify the contribution of the different constituents to the forcing adjustment and to improve the estimation of the radiative feedbacks. It is shown that such decomposition allows the retrieval of the adjusted radiative forcing, the radiative feedbacks and the climate sensitivity as estimated with the linear regression method with a high level of accuracy, validating the partial decomposition.

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Acknowledgments

We gratefully thank the two anonymous reviewers for their comments that helped us to improve the manuscript. We also thank Hervé Douville and Lorenzo Tomassini for discussions. This work was supported by the European Union FP7 Integrated Project COMBINE.

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Correspondence to Olivier Geoffroy.

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Geoffroy, O., Saint-Martin, D., Voldoire, A. et al. Adjusted radiative forcing and global radiative feedbacks in CNRM-CM5, a closure of the partial decomposition. Clim Dyn 42, 1807–1818 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-013-1741-9

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Keywords

  • Radiative feedback
  • Forcing adjustment
  • Partial radiative perturbation
  • Climate sensitivity