Probing the fast and slow components of global warming by returning abruptly to preindustrial forcing

Isaac M. Held, Michael Winton, Ken Takahashi, Thomas Delworth, Fanrong Zeng, Geoffrey K. Vallis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

248 Scopus citations

Abstract

The fast and slow components of global warming in a comprehensive climate model are isolated by examining the response to an instantaneous return to preindustrial forcing. The response is characterized by an initial fast exponential decay with an e-folding time smaller than 5 yr, leaving behind a remnant that evolves more slowly. The slow component is estimated to be small at present, as measured by the global mean near-surface air temperature, and, in the model examined, grows to 0.4°C by 2100 in the A1B scenario from the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES), and then to 1.4°C by 2300 if one holds radiative forcing fixed after 2100. The dominance of the fast component at present is supported by examining the response to an instantaneous doubling of CO2 and by the excellent fit to the model's ensemble mean twentieth-century evolution with a simple one-box model with no long times scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2418-2427
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume23
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Probing the fast and slow components of global warming by returning abruptly to preindustrial forcing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this