Robust increase in CO2 effective radiative forcing in warmer climates

Smith, C. ORCID:, Watson-Parris, D., Kramer, R., Andrews, T., Gjermundsen, A., Mutton, H., Feng, J., Paynter, D., et al. (2024). Robust increase in CO2 effective radiative forcing in warmer climates. DOI:10.5194/egusphere-egu24-8223. In: EGU General Assembly 2024, 14-19 April 2024, Vienna.

[thumbnail of Robust increase in CO2 effective radiative forcing in warmer climates.pptx] Slideshow
Robust increase in CO2 effective radiative forcing in warmer climates.pptx - Presentation
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (1MB)


The effective radiative forcing (ERF) is a robust predictor of future equilibrium warming. It is generally assumed that the ERF depends only on changes in atmospheric constituents and is independent of the background climate state. Building on recent work demonstrating that, in contrast, the instantaneous radiative forcing (IRF) for CO2 is strongly state-dependent, we show that the ERF for CO2 also increases in warmer climate states.

We analyse a 4×CO2 atmosphere-only forcing in both control and warmer climate states in eight CMIP6-era models. Four models participated in the Cloud Feedback Model Intercomparison Project (CFMIP) which used pre-industrial SSTs in its control state and SSTs from near the end of the same model’s coupled abrupt-4×CO2 run in its warm state. In the other four models we used an AMIP climatology as the control state and a uniform increase in SSTs of 4 K above this AMIP climatology in the warm state. All eight models show an increase in 4×CO2 ERF, ranging from 0.1-0.5 W m-2, translating to a relative increase of 0.02-0.09 W m-2 K-1 or 0.2-1.1 % K-1. The increase is statistically significant in five of the eight models.

Our findings have implications for derivation of simplified relationships of climate warming, for instance in the calculations of global warming metrics and in economic models, from which future climate change risks being underpredicted without a temperature adjustment.

We also run aerosol forcing experiments under the +4 K climate, for which there is less agreement between models, but some show large changes in aerosol ERF under the warmer climate state, with potential implications for our ability to discern transient warming even with a more accurate understanding of present-day aerosol forcing.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Integrated Assessment and Climate Change (IACC)
Depositing User: Michaela Rossini
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2024 07:16
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2024 07:16

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item