Effects of circulation on tropical cloud feedbacks in high-resolution simulations

Anna Mackie*, Michael P. Byrne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Uncertainty in the response of clouds to global warming remains a significant barrier to reducing uncertainty in climate sensitivity. A key question is the extent to which the dynamic component—that which is due to changes in circulation rather than changes in the thermodynamic properties of clouds—contributes to the total cloud feedback. Here, simulations with a range of cloud-resolving models are analyzed to quantify the impact of circulation changes on tropical cloud feedbacks. The dynamic component of the cloud feedback is substantial for some models and is controlled both by sea surface temperature (SST) induced changes in circulation and nonlinearity in the climatological relationship between clouds and circulation. We find notable inter-model differences in the extent to which ascending regions narrow or expand in response to a change in SST, which we link to differences in the longwave and shortwave dynamic components across models. The diversity of changes in ascent area is coupled to intermodel differences in non-radiative diabatic heating in ascending regions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022MS003516
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Volume15
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2023

Keywords

  • Cloud-circulation coupling
  • RCEMIP
  • Radiative-convective equilibrium
  • Tropics

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