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Dorothy Koch
,
Surabi Menon
,
Anthony Del Genio
,
Reto Ruedy
,
Igor Alienov
, and
Gavin A. Schmidt

Abstract

Aerosol direct (DE), indirect (IE), and black carbon–snow albedo (BAE) effects on climate between 1890 and 1995 are compared using equilibrium aerosol–climate simulations in the Goddard Institute for Space Studies General Circulation Model coupled to a mixed layer ocean. Pairs of control (1890)–perturbation (1995) with successive aerosol effects allow isolation of each effect. The experiments are conducted both with and without concurrent changes in greenhouse gases (GHG). A new scheme allowing dependence of snow albedo on black carbon snow concentration is introduced. The fixed GHG experiments global surface air temperature (SAT) changed by −0.2°, −1.0°, and +0.2°C from the DE, IE, and BAE. Ice and snow cover increased 1% from the IE and decreased 0.3% from the BAE. These changes were a factor of 4 larger in the Arctic. Global cloud cover increased by 0.5% from the IE. Net aerosol cooling effects are about half as large as the GHG warming, and their combined climate effects are smaller than the sum of their individual effects. Increasing GHG did not affect the IE impact on cloud cover, however they decreased aerosol effects on SAT by 20%, and on snow/ice cover by 50%; they also obscure the BAE on snow/ice cover. Arctic snow, ice, cloud, and shortwave forcing changes occur mostly during summer–fall, but SAT, sea level pressure, and longwave forcing changes occur during winter. An explanation is that aerosols impact the cryosphere during the warm season but the associated SAT effect is delayed until winter.

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Drew T. Shindell
,
Gavin A. Schmidt
,
Ron L. Miller
, and
Michael E. Mann

Abstract

The climate response to variability in volcanic aerosols and solar irradiance, the primary forcings during the preindustrial era, is examined in a stratosphere-resolving general circulation model. The best agreement with historical and proxy data is obtained using both forcings, each of which has a significant effect on global mean temperatures. However, their regional climate impacts in the Northern Hemisphere are quite different. While the short-term continental winter warming response to volcanism is well known, it is shown that due to opposing dynamical and radiative effects, the long-term (decadal mean) regional response is not significant compared to unforced variability for either the winter or the annual average. In contrast, the long-term regional response to solar forcing greatly exceeds unforced variability for both time averages, as the dynamical and radiative effects reinforce one another, and produces climate anomalies similar to those seen during the Little Ice Age. Thus, long-term regional changes during the preindustrial appear to have been dominated by solar forcing.

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Anastasia Romanou
,
David Rind
,
Jeff Jonas
,
Ron Miller
,
Maxwell Kelley
,
Gary Russell
,
Clara Orbe
,
Larissa Nazarenko
,
Rebecca Latto
, and
Gavin A. Schmidt

Abstract

A 10-member ensemble simulation with the NASA GISS-E2-1-G climate model shows a clear bifurcation in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) strength under the SSP2–4.5 extended scenario. At 26°N, the bifurcation leads to 8 strong AMOC and 2 much weaker AMOC states, while at 48°N, it leads to 8 stable AMOC-on and 2 nearly AMOC-off states, the latter lasting approximately 800 years. A variety of fully coupled models have demonstrated tipping points in AMOC through hosing experiments, i.e., prescribing sufficient freshwater inputs in the subpolar North Atlantic. In the GISS simulations, there are no external freshwater perturbations. The bifurcation arises freely in the coupled system and is the result of stochastic variability (noise-induced bifurcation) associated with sea ice transport and melting in the Irminger Sea after a slowing of the greenhouse gas forcing. While the AMOC strength follows the near shutdown of the Labrador Sea deep convection initially, the Irminger Sea salinity and deep mixing determine the timing of the AMOC recovery or near collapse at 48°N, which varies widely across the ensemble members. Other feedbacks such as ice-albedo, ice-evaporation, E − P, and the overturning salt-advection feedback play a secondary role that may enhance or reduce the primary mechanism which is ice melt. We believe this is the first time that a coupled climate model has shown such a bifurcation across an initial condition ensemble and might imply that there is a chance for significant and prolonged AMOC slow down due to internal variability of the system.

Significance Statement

We believe this is the first time that divergent AMOC behavior has been reported for an ensemble of Earth system model simulations using identical climate forcing and no prescribed freshwater perturbations. This response is a manifestation of noise-induced bifurcation, enhanced by feedbacks, revealing the role stochastic (or intrinsic) variability may play in AMOC stability.

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Clara Orbe
,
David Rind
,
Ron L. Miller
,
Larissa S. Nazarenko
,
Anastasia Romanou
,
Jeffrey Jonas
,
Gary L. Russell
,
Maxwell Kelley
, and
Gavin A. Schmidt

Abstract

Climate models project a future weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), but the impacts of this weakening on climate remain highly uncertain. A key challenge in quantifying the impact of an AMOC decline is in isolating its influence on climate, relative to other changes associated with increased greenhouse gases. Here we isolate the climate impacts of a weakened AMOC in the broader context of a warming climate using a unique ensemble of Shared Socioeconomic Pathway (SSP) 2–4.5 integrations that was performed using the Climate Model Intercomparison Project phase 6 (CMIP6) version of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies ModelE (E2.1). In these runs internal variability alone results in a spontaneous bifurcation of the ocean flow, wherein 2 out of 10 ensemble members exhibit an entire AMOC collapse, while the other 8 members recover at various stages despite identical forcing of each ensemble member and with no externally prescribed freshwater perturbation. We show that an AMOC collapse results in an abrupt northward shift and strengthening of the Northern Hemisphere (NH) Hadley cell (HC) and intensification of the northern midlatitude eddy-driven jet. We then use a set of coupled atmosphere–ocean abrupt CO2 experiments spanning the range 1 times to 5 times CO2 (1x to 5xCO2) to show that this response to an AMOC collapse results in a nonlinear shift in the NH circulation moving from 2xCO2 to 3xCO2. Slab-ocean versions of these experiments, by comparison, do not capture this nonlinear behavior. Our results suggest that changes in ocean heat flux convergences associated with an AMOC collapse—while highly uncertain—can result in profound changes in the NH circulation and continued efforts to constrain the AMOC response to future climate change are needed.

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Dorothy Koch
,
Susanne E. Bauer
,
Anthony Del Genio
,
Greg Faluvegi
,
Joseph R. McConnell
,
Surabi Menon
,
Ronald L. Miller
,
David Rind
,
Reto Ruedy
,
Gavin A. Schmidt
, and
Drew Shindell

Abstract

The authors simulate transient twentieth-century climate in the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) GCM, with aerosol and ozone chemistry fully coupled to one another and to climate including a full dynamic ocean. Aerosols include sulfate, black carbon (BC), organic carbon, nitrate, sea salt, and dust. Direct and BC-snow-albedo radiative effects are included. Model BC and sulfur trends agree fairly well with records from Greenland and European ice cores and with sulfur deposition in North America; however, the model underestimates the sulfur decline at the end of the century in Greenland. Global BC effects peak early in the century (1940s); afterward the BC effects decrease at high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere but continue to increase at lower latitudes. The largest increase in aerosol optical depth occurs in the middle of the century (1940s–80s) when sulfate forcing peaks and causes global dimming. After this, aerosols decrease in eastern North America and northern Eurasia leading to regional positive forcing changes and brightening. These surface forcing changes have the correct trend but are too weak. Over the century, the net aerosol direct effect is −0.41 W m−2, the BC-albedo effect is −0.02 W m−2, and the net ozone forcing is +0.24 W m−2. The model polar stratospheric ozone depletion develops, beginning in the 1970s. Concurrently, the sea salt load and negative radiative flux increase over the oceans around Antarctica. Net warming over the century is modeled fairly well; however, the model fails to capture the dynamics of the observed midcentury cooling followed by the late century warming. Over the century, 20% of Arctic warming and snow–ice cover loss is attributed to the BC-albedo effect. However, the decrease in this effect at the end of the century contributes to Arctic cooling.

To test the climate responses to sulfate and BC pollution, two experiments were branched from 1970 that removed all pollution sulfate or BC. Averaged over 1970–2000, the respective radiative forcings relative to the full experiment were +0.3 and −0.3 W m−2; the average surface air temperature changes were +0.2° and −0.03°C. The small impact of BC reduction on surface temperature resulted from reduced stability and loss of low-level clouds.

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Clara Orbe
,
Luke Van Roekel
,
Ángel F. Adames
,
Amin Dezfuli
,
John Fasullo
,
Peter J. Gleckler
,
Jiwoo Lee
,
Wei Li
,
Larissa Nazarenko
,
Gavin A. Schmidt
,
Kenneth R. Sperber
, and
Ming Zhao

Abstract

We compare the performance of several modes of variability across six U.S. climate modeling groups, with a focus on identifying robust improvements in recent models [including those participating in phase 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP)] compared to previous versions. In particular, we examine the representation of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO), the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) in the tropical stratosphere, and the dominant modes of extratropical variability, including the southern annular mode (SAM), the northern annular mode (NAM) [and the closely related North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)], and the Pacific–North American pattern (PNA). Where feasible, we explore the processes driving these improvements through the use of “intermediary” experiments that utilize model versions between CMIP3/5 and CMIP6 as well as targeted sensitivity experiments in which individual modeling parameters are altered. We find clear and systematic improvements in the MJO and QBO and in the teleconnection patterns associated with the PDO and ENSO. Some gains arise from better process representation, while others (e.g., the QBO) from higher resolution that allows for a greater range of interactions. Our results demonstrate that the incremental development processes in multiple climate model groups lead to more realistic simulations over time.

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Maria Rugenstein
,
Jonah Bloch-Johnson
,
Ayako Abe-Ouchi
,
Timothy Andrews
,
Urs Beyerle
,
Long Cao
,
Tarun Chadha
,
Gokhan Danabasoglu
,
Jean-Louis Dufresne
,
Lei Duan
,
Marie-Alice Foujols
,
Thomas Frölicher
,
Olivier Geoffroy
,
Jonathan Gregory
,
Reto Knutti
,
Chao Li
,
Alice Marzocchi
,
Thorsten Mauritsen
,
Matthew Menary
,
Elisabeth Moyer
,
Larissa Nazarenko
,
David Paynter
,
David Saint-Martin
,
Gavin A. Schmidt
,
Akitomo Yamamoto
, and
Shuting Yang

Abstract

We present a model intercomparison project, LongRunMIP, the first collection of millennial-length (1,000+ years) simulations of complex coupled climate models with a representation of ocean, atmosphere, sea ice, and land surface, and their interactions. Standard model simulations are generally only a few hundred years long. However, modeling the long-term equilibration in response to radiative forcing perturbation is important for understanding many climate phenomena, such as the evolution of ocean circulation, time- and temperature-dependent feedbacks, and the differentiation of forced signal and internal variability. The aim of LongRunMIP is to facilitate research into these questions by serving as an archive for simulations that capture as much of this equilibration as possible. The only requirement to participate in LongRunMIP is to contribute a simulation with elevated, constant CO2 forcing that lasts at least 1,000 years. LongRunMIP is an MIP of opportunity in that the simulations were mostly performed prior to the conception of the archive without an agreed-upon set of experiments. For most models, the archive contains a preindustrial control simulation and simulations with an idealized (typically abrupt) CO2 forcing. We collect 2D surface and top-of-atmosphere fields and 3D ocean temperature and salinity fields. Here, we document the collection of simulations and discuss initial results, including the evolution of surface and deep ocean temperature and cloud radiative effects. As of October 2019, the collection includes 50 simulations of 15 models by 10 modeling centers. The data of LongRunMIP are publicly available. We encourage submissions of more simulations in the future.

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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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