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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Abstract

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
Volume56
Issue number9-10
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021

Keywords

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

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