On the determination of climate feedbacks from ERBE data

Richard S. Lindzen, Yong Sang Choi

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Climate feedbacks are estimated from fluctuations in the outgoing radiation budget from the latest version of Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) nonscanner data. It appears, for the entire tropics, the observed outgoing radiation fluxes increase with the increase in sea surface temperatures (SSTs). The observed behavior of radiation fluxes implies negative feedback processes associated with relatively low climate sensitivity. This is the opposite of the behavior of 11 atmospheric models forced by the same SSTs. Therefore, the models display much higher climate sensitivity man is inferred from ERBE, though it is difficult to pin down such high sensitivities with any precision. Results also show, the feedback in ERBE is mostly from shortwave radiation while the feedback in the models is mostly from longwave radiation. Aldiough such a test does not distinguish the mechanisms, this is important since the inconsistency of . climate feedbacks constitutes a very fundamental problem in climate prediction.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL16705
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number16
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2009


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