On the Longwave Climate Feedbacks

Huang, Yi
October 2013
Journal of Climate;Oct2013, Vol. 26 Issue 19, p7603
Academic Journal
This paper mainly addresses two issues that concern the longwave climate feedbacks. First, it is recognized that the radiative forcing of greenhouse gases, as measured by their impact on the outgoing longwave radiation (OLR), may vary across different climate models even when the concentrations of these gases are identically prescribed. This forcing variation contributes to the discrepancy in these models' projections of surface warming. A method is proposed to account for this effect in diagnosing the sensitivity and feedbacks in the models. Second, it is shown that the stratosphere is an important factor that affects the OLR in transient climate change. Stratospheric water vapor and temperature changes may both act as a positive feedback mechanism during global warming and cannot be fully accounted as a 'stratospheric adjustment' of radiative forcing. Neglecting these two issues may cause a bias in the longwave cloud feedback diagnosed as a residual term in the decomposition of OLR variations. There is no consensus among the climate models on the sign of the longwave cloud feedback after accounting for both issues.


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