Regional climate predictability from regional climate feedbacks.

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 5:00 PM
Gerard Roe, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States, Nicole Feldl, Univ of WA-Atmospheri Sciences, Seattle, WA, United States, Kyle Armour, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States, Yen-Ting Hwang, University of Washington, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Seattle, WA, United States and Dargan M Frierson, Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States
Uncertainty in the spatial pattern of climate change is dominated by divergent predictions among models. Progress in constraining this uncertainty is predicated on understanding how patterns of individual feedbacks aggregate into the regional and global response. A simple model combining regional feedbacks and diffusing both latent and sensible heat replicates the behavior of comprehensive climate models, and provides a framework for how uncertainty in feedback patterns combines to yield uncertainty in both local and nonlocal climate response: while uncertainty in tropical feedbacks induces a global response, the impact of uncertainty in polar feedbacks remains predominantly regionally confined. While the true patterns of the various climate feedbacks remain elusive, understanding these connections is a prerequisite for constraining uncertainty at regional scales, where the environmental and societal impacts of global climate change are predominantly experienced.