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Hanjun Kim, Sarah M. Kang, Yen-Ting Hwang, and Young-Min Yang

Abstract

This study explores the dependence of the climate response on the altitude of black carbon in the northern subtropics by employing an atmospheric general circulation model coupled to an aquaplanet mixed layer ocean, with a focus on the pattern changes in the temperature, hydrological cycle, and large-scale circulation. Black carbon added below or within the subtropical low-level clouds tends to suppress convection, which reduces the low cloud amount, resulting in a positive cloud radiative forcing. The warmer northern subtropics then induce a northward shift of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) and a poleward expansion of the descending branch of the northern Hadley cell. As the black carbon–induced local warming is amplified by clouds and is advected by the anomalous Hadley circulation, the entire globe gets warmer. In contrast, black carbon added near the surface increases the buoyancy of air parcels to enhance convection, leading to an increase in the subtropical low cloud amount and a negative cloud radiative forcing. The temperature increase remains local to where black carbon is added and elsewhere decreases, so that the ITCZ is shifted southward and the descending branch of the northern Hadley cell contracts equatorward. Consistent with previous studies, the authors demonstrate that the climate response to black carbon is highly sensitive to the vertical distribution of black carbon relative to clouds; hence, models have to accurately compute the vertical transport of black carbon to enhance their skill in simulating the climatic effects of black carbon.

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Sarah M. Kang, Matt Hawcroft, Baoqiang Xiang, Yen-Ting Hwang, Gabriel Cazes, Francis Codron, Traute Crueger, Clara Deser, Øivind Hodnebrog, Hanjun Kim, Jiyeong Kim, Yu Kosaka, Teresa Losada, Carlos R. Mechoso, Gunnar Myhre, Øyvind Seland, Bjorn Stevens, Masahiro Watanabe, and Sungduk Yu

Abstract

This article introduces the Extratropical–Tropical Interaction Model Intercomparison Project (ETIN-MIP), where a set of fully coupled model experiments are designed to examine the sources of longstanding tropical precipitation biases in climate models. In particular, we reduce insolation over three targeted latitudinal bands of persistent model biases: the southern extratropics, the southern tropics, and the northern extratropics. To address the effect of regional energy bias corrections on the mean distribution of tropical precipitation, such as the double intertropical convergence zone problem, we evaluate the quasi-equilibrium response of the climate system corresponding to a 50-yr period after the 100 years of prescribed energy perturbation. Initial results show that, despite a large intermodel spread in each perturbation experiment due to differences in ocean heat uptake response and climate feedbacks across models, the southern tropics is most efficient at driving a meridional shift of tropical precipitation. In contrast, the extratropical energy perturbations are effectively damped by anomalous heat uptake over the subpolar oceans, thereby inducing a smaller meridional shift of tropical precipitation compared with the tropical energy perturbations. The ETIN-MIP experiments allow us to investigate the global implications of regional energy bias corrections, providing a route to guide the practice of model development, with implications for understanding dynamical responses to anthropogenic climate change and geoengineering.

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