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How Well do we Understand and Evaluate Climate Change ?

S. Bony, R. Colman, V. Kattsov, R.P. Allan, C. S. Bretherton, J.-L. Dufresne, A. Hall, S. Hallegatte, M. M. Holland, W. Ingram, D. A. Randall, B. J. Soden, G. Tselioudis, M. J. Webb (Journal of Climate, Vol. 19, No. 15, pp. 3445-3482)

mardi 13 décembre 2005, par Stéphane Hallegatte

Processes in the climate system that can either amplify or damp the climate response to an external perturbation are referred to as climate feedbacks. Climate sensitivity estimates depend critically on radiative feedbacks associated with water vapor, lapse-rate, clouds, snow and sea-ice, and global estimates of these feedbacks differ among general circulation models. By reviewing recent observational, numerical and theoretical studies, this paper shows that there has been progress since the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change in (i) the understanding of the physical mechanisms involved in these feedbacks, (ii) the interpretation of inter-model differences in global estimates of these feedbacks, and (iii) the development of methodologies of evaluation of these feedbacks (or of some components) using observations. This suggests that continuing developments in climate feedback research will progressively get us to the point where it will be possible to constrain the GCMs’ range of climate feedbacks and climate sensitivity through an ensemble of diagnostics based on physical understanding and observations.

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