Modeling Climate

How Quickly Does CO2 Influence Temperature?

Extensive research has gone into understanding the response of global temperatures to increased CO2 emissions. However, not enough quantitative studies have investigated the time it takes for this response to manifest itself. Uncertainties in these estimates are due to uncertainties in the understanding of the effects of equilibrium climate sensitivity, carbon cycling and thermal inertia of oceans, which all act to modulate the temperature response to increased greenhouse gases. A recent study published in a current issue of Env. Research Letters by Ricke and Caldeira…

South Pacific Convergence Zone Variability and Biases in Models

Ben Lintner is the atmospheric sciences graduate program director at Rutgers as well as an associate editor of Journal of Climate.  His October 27, 2014 presentation at Yale focused on little understood fundamental aspects of the South Pacific Convergent Zone, (SPCZ), an area of intense deep convection and low-level convergence extending southeastward from the western Pacific warm pool into Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes that is a dominant feature of the tropical Pacific.

Future Cold Air Out-Breaks. Less Frequent in a Warmer World?

During winter and spring 2014, waves of unusually cold temperatures hit northeastern regions of North America, noticeably effecting the US economy and hampering growth in the first quarter of 2014 (see CNS news link on a statement by Fed. Chairman Janet Yellen on this topic). A number of research studies proposed mechanisms by which changes in the jet stream strength and location attributed to polar amplification would enhance temperature variability at the surface (Liu et al., 2012; Francis and Vavrus, 2012). Polar amplification…

Climate Change: It's the Variability, Stupid

Studies evaluating the impact of climate change have mostly focused on the effects of mean changes in climate. This approach may severely underestimate the vulnerability of human society to anthropogenic-driven climate change. This is because the biological and agricultural sectors are also affected by changes in climate variability and extreme events. A recent article by Thornton et al. (2014) reviews our current understanding on the topic and highlights significant gaps in the research. Expected changes due to climate…

Projecting the Impact of Climate Change on Primary Production

A new study considers the complications of projecting impacts on carbon uptake by Earth ecosystems as the planet warms. The synthesis of organic compounds by primary producers from atmospheric or aqueous carbon dioxide is known as primary production. Almost all organisms on Earth directly or indirectly depend on it. Global primary production (GPP) is defined as the amount of chemical energy…

Global Decadal Hydroclimate Variability in Observations and Models. Richard Seager

Climate scientists and climate models are in agreement that hydro-climate around the world will change as a result of rising greenhouse gas emissions.  Considering radiative forcing components only, dry places should get drier and wet ones wetter.  Are these changes already underway, however, and what is the significance of these trends vs natural variability?


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