New paper in Geophysical Research Letters by Masters student Alex Haugstad: Relative roles of surface temperature and climate forcing patterns in the inconstancy of radiative feedbacks [pdf]
Radiative feedbacks robustly vary over time in transient warming simulations. Published studies offer two explanations: (i) evolving patterns of ocean heat uptake (OHU) or radiative forcing give rise to OHU or forcing “efficacies” and (ii) evolving patterns of surface temperature change. This study seeks to determine whether these explanations are indeed distinct. Using an idealized framework of an aquaplanet atmosphere-only model, we show that radiative feedbacks depend on the pattern of climate forcing. Yet the same feedbacks arise when the temperature pattern induced by that climate forcing is prescribed in the absence of any forcing. These findings suggest the perspective that feedbacks are influenced by efficacies of forcing and OHU is equivalent to the perspective that feedbacks are dependent on the temperature patterns induced by those forcings. Prescribed surface temperature simulations are thus valuable for studying the temporal evolution of radiative feedbacks.