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Shan Sun and James E. Hansen

Abstract

The authors simulate climate change for 1951–2050 using the GISS SI2000 atmospheric model coupled to HYCOM, a quasi-isopycnal ocean model (“ocean E”), and contrast the results with those obtained using the same atmosphere coupled to a passive Q-flux ocean model (“ocean B”) and the same atmosphere driven by observed SST (“ocean A”). All of the models give reasonable agreement with observed global temperature change during 1951–2000, but the quasi-isopycnal ocean E mixes heat more deeply and hence sequesters heat more effectively on the century timescale. Global surface warming in the next 50 yr is only 0.3°–0.4°C with this ocean in simulations driven by an “alternative scenario” climate forcing (1.1 W m−2 in the next 50 yr), only half as much as with ocean B. From the different models the authors estimate that the earth was out of radiation balance by about 0.18 W m−2 in 1951 and is now out of balance by about 0.75 W m−2. This energy imbalance, or residual climate forcing, a consequence of deep ocean mixing of heat anomalies and the history of climate forcings, is a crucial measure of the state of the climate system that should be precisely monitored with full-ocean temperature measurements.

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James B. Pollack, David Rind, Andrew Lacis, James E. Hansen, Makiko Sato, and Reto Ruedy

Abstract

The authors have used the Goddard Institute for Space Studies Climate Model II to simulate the response of the climate system to a spatially and temporally constant forcing by volcanic aerosols having an optical depth of 0.15. The climatic changes produced by long-term volcanic aerosol forcing are obtained by differencing this simulation and one made for the present climate with no volcanic aerosol forcing. These climatic changes are compared with those obtained with the same climate model when the C02 content of the atmosphere was doubled (2×C02) and when the boundary conditions associated with the peak of the last ice age were used (18 K). In all three cases, the absolute magnitude of the change in the globally averaged air temperature at the surface is approximately the same, ∼5 K.

The simulations imply that a significant cooling of the troposphere and surface can occur at times of closely spaced, multiple, sulfur-rich volcanic explosions that span time scales of decades to centuries, such as occurred at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. The steady-state climate response to volcanic forcing includes a large expansion of sea ice, especially in the Southern Hemisphere; a resultant large increase in surface and planetary albedo at high latitudes; and sizable changes in the annually and zonally averaged air temperature, ΔT; ΔT at the surface (ΔTs) does not sharply increase with increasing latitude, while ΔT in the lower stratosphere is positive at low latitudes and negative at high latitudes.

In certain ways, the climate response to the three different forcings is similar. Direct radiative forcing accounts for 30% and 25% of the total ΔTs in the volcano and 2×C02 runs, respectively. Changes in atmospheric water vapor act as the most important feedback, and are positive in all three cases. Albedo feedback is a significant, positive feedback at high latitudes in all three simulations, although the land ice feedback is prominent only in the 18 K run.

In other ways, the climate response to the three forcings is quite different. The latitudinal profiles of ΔTs for the three runs differ considerably, reflecting significant variations in the latitudinal profiles of the primary radiative forcing. Partially as a result of this difference in the ΔTs profiles, changes in eddy kinetic energy, beat transport by atmospheric eddies, and total atmospheric heat transport are quite different in the three cases. In fact, atmospheric beat transport acts as a positive feedback at high latitudes in the volcano run and as a negative feedback in the other two runs. These results raise questions about the ease with which atmospheric heat transport can be parameterized in a simple way in energy balance climate models.

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Gavin A. Schmidt, Reto Ruedy, James E. Hansen, Igor Aleinov, Nadine Bell, Mike Bauer, Susanne Bauer, Brian Cairns, Vittorio Canuto, Ye Cheng, Anthony Del Genio, Greg Faluvegi, Andrew D. Friend, Tim M. Hall, Yongyun Hu, Max Kelley, Nancy Y. Kiang, Dorothy Koch, Andy A. Lacis, Jean Lerner, Ken K. Lo, Ron L. Miller, Larissa Nazarenko, Valdar Oinas, Jan Perlwitz, Judith Perlwitz, David Rind, Anastasia Romanou, Gary L. Russell, Makiko Sato, Drew T. Shindell, Peter H. Stone, Shan Sun, Nick Tausnev, Duane Thresher, and Mao-Sung Yao

Abstract

A full description of the ModelE version of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) atmospheric general circulation model (GCM) and results are presented for present-day climate simulations (ca. 1979). This version is a complete rewrite of previous models incorporating numerous improvements in basic physics, the stratospheric circulation, and forcing fields. Notable changes include the following: the model top is now above the stratopause, the number of vertical layers has increased, a new cloud microphysical scheme is used, vegetation biophysics now incorporates a sensitivity to humidity, atmospheric turbulence is calculated over the whole column, and new land snow and lake schemes are introduced. The performance of the model using three configurations with different horizontal and vertical resolutions is compared to quality-controlled in situ data, remotely sensed and reanalysis products. Overall, significant improvements over previous models are seen, particularly in upper-atmosphere temperatures and winds, cloud heights, precipitation, and sea level pressure. Data–model comparisons continue, however, to highlight persistent problems in the marine stratocumulus regions.

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