Two maps showing surface temperature with different colors. The first map is for the period of 1871-1980 and the second is for the period of 1981-2010.
Spatial pattern of warming divided by the globally averaged warming during two periods: (a) is for the period of 1871-1980 and (b) is for the period of 1981-2010. Warming is calculated by linear regression with time. The first period in (a) has more homogeneous warming across the globe that is more similar to long-term climate change projected by models. The second period has larger change in the zonal gradient of warming in the tropical and subtropical Pacific that impacted the radiative feedback. Credit: Andrews et al. [2022], Figure 4 (a,b)
Editors’ Highlights are summaries of recent papers by AGU’s journal editors.
Source: Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

From 1980 to 2010, the Earth warmed by about 0.5oC. During this period, the energy budget of the Earth has been inferred from modern satellite measurements. Can these measurements constrain the radiative climate feedback of the Earth projected in climate models? It turns out that they cannot.

Andrews et al. [2022] find that the spatial variability of the warming pattern in recent decades is different from the spatial distribution of climate warming. The warming pattern in recent decades, with regions of deep convection warmed substantially more than the tropical mean as in a mode of natural variability, reduces the radiative climate feedback. This paper estimates how much this spatial pattern impacted the true radiative feedback relevant to long-term climate change. It found that the spatial pattern masked about 0.50 W/m2/K of radiative feedback.

Citation: Andrews, T., Bodas-Salcedo, A., Gregory, J. M., Dong, Y., Armour, K. C., Paynter, D., et al. (2022). On the effect of historical SST patterns on radiative feedback. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 127, e2022JD036675.

—Minghua Zhang, Editor in Chief, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

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