Process-based analysis of relative contributions to the multi-model warming projection over East Asia

Hanjie Fan, Xiaoming Hu, Song Yang, Yong Sang Choi, Yoon Kyoung Lee

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7 Scopus citations


Climate models predict that East Asia (EA) will be substantially warmer than the present despite large inter-model uncertainty. This study investigated the major sources of the climate projections and the inter-model uncertainty. Particularly, we decomposed the differences in surface temperatures between the historical and RCP8.5 runs from 26 CMIP5 into partial surface temperature changes due to individual radiative and non-radiative processes through the climate feedback-response analysis method. Results show that anthropogenic greenhouse forcing and subsequent water vapor feedback processes are primarily responsible for the surface warming over EA. Relatively more rapid warming over the snow/ice-covered area and southern China is due to feedback processes associated with surface albedo and cloud, respectively. The regional warming is, however, compensated by the surface non-radiative (sensible and latent heat) cooling. The inter-model projection uncertainty is substantially large over high latitudes and the Tibetan Plateau mainly due to surface albedo feedback. Again, this large uncertainty is partly suppressed by surface non-radiative cooling. Water vapor and cloud feedbacks are the secondary important sources of the projection uncertainty. Moreover, the contributions of greenhouse forcing and atmospheric dynamics to the projection uncertainty are found to be minor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2729-2747
Number of pages19
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for the constructive and insightful comments from the editor and the anonymous reviewers that have led to a significant improvement in the presentation. This study was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant 2016YFA0602703), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants 4191101062, 41805050, 41690123, 41690120, and 41975074), the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (Grant 2018A0303130268), the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2018R1A6A1A08025520), and under the framework of international cooperation program managed by the National Research Foundation of Korea (2019K2A9A2A06020912), Guangdong Province Key Laboratory for Climate Change and Natural Disaster Studies (Grant 2020B1212060025), and supported by the Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Climate Change. Data used in this study are archived and freely accessible at and .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Climate feedback
  • East Asia
  • RCP8.5 scenario
  • Surface warming projection
  • Uncertainty of model projection


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