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Fast versus slow response in climate change: implications for the global hydrological cycle

Bala, Govindasamy and Caldeira, Ken and Nemani, R (2010) Fast versus slow response in climate change: implications for the global hydrological cycle. In: Climate Dynamics, 35 (2-3). pp. 423-434.

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Recent studies have shown that changes in global mean precipitation are larger for solar forcing than for CO2 forcing of similar magnitude.In this paper, we use an atmospheric general circulation model to show that the differences originate from differing fast responses of the climate system. We estimate the adjusted radiative forcing and fast response using Hansen's ``fixed-SST forcing'' method.Total climate system response is calculated using mixed layer simulations using the same model. Our analysis shows that the fast response is almost 40% of the total response for few key variables like precipitation and evaporation. We further demonstrate that the hydrologic sensitivity, defined as the change in global mean precipitation per unit warming, is the same for the two forcings when the fast responses are excluded from the definition of hydrologic sensitivity, suggesting that the slow response (feedback) of the hydrological cycle is independent of the forcing mechanism. Based on our results, we recommend that the fast and slow response be compared separately in multi-model intercomparisons to discover and understand robust responses in hydrologic cycle. The significance of this study to geoengineering is discussed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Climate Dynamics
Publisher: Springer
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Springer.
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Divecha Centre for Climate Change
Division of Mechanical Sciences > Centre for Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2010 10:46
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2019 05:33
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/31220

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