Interactions between perturbations to different Earth system components simulated by a fully-coupled climate model
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- Lambert, F.H., Harris, G.R., Collins, M. et al. Clim Dyn (2013) 41: 3055. doi:10.1007/s00382-012-1618-3
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We examine the global mean surface temperature and carbon cycle responses to the A1B emissions scenario for a new 57 member perturbed-parameter ensemble of simulations generated using the fully coupled atmosphere-ocean-carbon cycle climate model HadCM3C. The model variants feature simultaneous perturbation to parameters that control atmosphere, ocean, land carbon cycle and sulphur cycle processes in this Earth system model, and is the first experiment of its kind. The experimental design, based on four earlier ensembles with parameters varied within each individual Earth system component, allows the effects of interactions between uncertainties in the different components to be explored. A large spread in response is obtained, with atmospheric CO2 at the end of the twenty-first century ranging from 615 to 1,100 ppm. On average though, the mean effect of the parameter perturbations is to significantly reduce the amount of atmospheric CO2 compared to that seen in the standard HadCM3C model. Global temperature change for 2090–2099 relative to the pre-industrial period ranges from 2.2 to 7.5 °C, with large temperature responses occurring when atmospheric model versions with high climate sensitivities are combined with carbon cycle components that emit large amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere under warming. A simple climate model, tuned to reproduce the responses of the separate Earth system component ensembles, is used to demonstrate that interactions between uncertainties in the different components play a significant role in determining the spread of responses in global mean surface temperature. This ensemble explores a wide range of interactions and response, and therefore provides a useful resource for the provision of regional climate projections and associated uncertainties.