Atmospheric dynamics feedback: concept, simulations and climate implications

Michael Byrne*, Tapio Schneider

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The regional climate response to radiative forcing is largely controlled by changes in the atmospheric circulation. It has been suggested that global climate sensitivity also depends on the circulation response, an effect called the “atmospheric dynamics feedback.” Using a technique to isolate the influence of changes in atmospheric circulation on top-of-the-atmosphere radiation, the authors calculate the atmospheric dynamics feedback in coupled climate models. Large-scale circulation changes contribute substantially to all-sky and cloud feedbacks in the tropics but are relatively less important at higher latitudes. Globally averaged, the atmospheric dynamics feedback is positive and amplifies the near-surface temperature response to climate change by an average of 8% in simulations with coupled models. A constraint related to the atmospheric mass budget results in the dynamics feedback being small on large scales relative to feedbacks associated with thermodynamic processes. Idealized-forcing simulations suggest that circulation changes at high latitudes are potentially more effective at influencing global temperature than circulation changes at low latitudes, and the implications for past and future climate change are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3249-3264
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2018


  • Atmospheric circulation
  • Clouds
  • Feedback
  • Climate sensitivity
  • Radiative fluxes
  • Climate models


Dive into the research topics of 'Atmospheric dynamics feedback: concept, simulations and climate implications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this