GFDL's CM2 global coupled climate models. Part IV: Idealized climate response

Ronald J. Stouffer, A. J. Broccoli, T. L. Delworth, K. W. Dixon, R. Gudgel, I. Held, R. Hemler, T. Knutson, Hyun Chul Lee, M. D. Schwarzkopf, B. Soden, M. J. Spelman, M. Winton, Fanrong Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


The climate response to idealized changes in the atmospheric CO2 concentration by the new GFDL climate model (CM2) is documented. This new model is very different from earlier GFDL models in its parameterizations of subgrid-scale physical processes, numerical algorithms, and resolution. The model was constructed to be useful for both seasonal-to-interannual predictions and climate change research. Unlike previous versions of the global coupled GFDL climate models, CM2 does not use flux adjustments to maintain a stable control climate. Results from two model versions, Climate Model versions 2.0 (CM2.0) and 2.1 (CM2.1), are presented. Two atmosphere-mixed layer ocean or slab mo dels, Slab Model versions 2.0 (SM2.0) and 2.1 (SM2.1), are constructed corresponding to CM2.0 and CM2.1. Using the SM2 models to estimate the climate sensitivity, it is found that the equilibrium globally averaged surface air temperature increases 2.9 (SM2.0) and 3.4 K (SM2.1) for a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. When forced by a 1% per year CO2 increase, the surface air temperature difference around the time of CO2 doubling [transient climate response (TCR)] is about 1.6 K for both coupled model versions (CM2.0 and CM2.1). The simulated warming is near the median of the responses documented for the climate models used in the 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I Third Assessment Report (TAR). The thermohaline circulation (THC) wea kened in response to increasing atmospheric CO2. By the time of CO2 doubling, the weakening in CM2.1 is larger than that found in CM2.0: 7 and 4 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s-1), respectively. However, the THC in the control integration of CM2.1 is stronger than in CM2.0, so that the percentage change in the THC between the two versions is more similar. The average THC change for the models presented in the TAR is about 3 or 4 Sv; however, the range across the model results is very large, varying from a slight increase (+2 Sv) to a large decrease (-10 Sv).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-740
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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