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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-1169
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-1169
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 05 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 05 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Quantifying climate feedbacks in the middle atmosphere using WACCM

Maartje Sanne Kuilman1, Qiong Zhang2, Ming Cai3, and Qin Wen1,4 Maartje Sanne Kuilman et al.
  • 1Department of Meteorology and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2Department of Physical Geography and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 3Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA
  • 4Laboratory for Climate and Ocean-Atmosphere Studies (LaCOAS), Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, School of Physics, Peking University, Beijing, China

Abstract. The importance of feedback processes in the middle atmosphere for surface and tropospheric climate is increasingly realized. To better understand feedback processes in response to a doubling of CO2 we use the climate feedback response analysis method (CFRAM). We examine the middle atmosphere response to CO2 doubling with respect to the pre-industrial state in the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM). Globally, the simulated temperature decrease between 200 and 0.01 hPa (~ 12–80 km) is found to be −5.2 K in July and −5.5 K in January in WACCM. The CFRAM calculations show that the direct forcing of CO2 alone would lead to an even stronger cooling of approximately 9 K in the middle atmosphere in both July and January. This cooling is being mitigated by the combined effect of the different feedback processes.

The contribution from the ozone feedback causes a warming of approximately 1.5 K, mitigating the cooling due to changes in CO2. Changes in CO2 also lead to changes in the middle atmosphere dynamics. The changes in dynamics play a large role locally, especially above 0.1 hPa. Other feedback processes, which are known to be important in the tropospheric and surface climate, such as the water vapor, albedo and cloud feedbacks are of minor importance in the middle atmosphere,although some effects are seen in the stratosphere, mainly through the responses to sea surface temperature and sea ice changes. It should be noted that there is a relatively large error term associated with the current method in the middle atmosphere, which can be explained by the linearization in the method.

Maartje Sanne Kuilman et al.

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Maartje Sanne Kuilman et al.

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Short summary
In this study, we quantify the temperature changes in the middle atmosphere due to different feedback processes using a relative new method. We have found that the change due to the increase in CO2 alone, without feedbacks, would be approximately −9 K in the stratosphere and mesosphere. The combined effect of the different feedbacks causes the atmosphere to cool less. The ozone feedback is the most important feedback process, while the cloud, water vapour and albedo are only of minor importance.
In this study, we quantify the temperature changes in the middle atmosphere due to different...
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