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The land/sea warming contrast being greater than unity is a well-known phenomenon in response to anthropogenic radiative forcing. The land/sea surface warming asymmetry is essentially a result of the differing surface and boundary layer properties over the land and ocean as well as the differing cloud feedbacks. In this study, we analyze the surface temperature response over the land and ocean, using the NCAR CCSM4, to a transient 1% yr-1 CO2 increase at the time of the doubling. The contributions of the external forcing (CO2) alone and various feedbacks are diagnosed using the Climate Feedback Response Analysis Method (CFRAM). This study found that the external forcing warms the land and ocean surfaces approximately the same, which suggests that the feedbacks are responsible for the warming contrast. Furthermore, this analysis confirms that the principal contributor to the above-unity land-to-sea warming ratio is the evaporation feedback; however, the results also indicate that the sensible heat flux feedback, which favors a greater warming for the ocean, has the largest land/sea warming difference. Consequently, the findings uniquely highlight the importance of other feedbacks in establishing the above-unity land-to-sea warming ratio. Specifically, the cloud and ocean dynamics/heat storage feedbacks are key contributors to the maintenance of the land/sea warming asymmetry. The results of this study provide a more holistic understanding of the climate feedbacks and their significance to the land and ocean temperature responses, when the climate is forced.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Ming Cai, Professor Directing Thesis; Phillip Sura, Committee Member; Guosheng Liu, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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