Climate Dynamics

, Volume 42, Issue 5–6, pp 1613–1630 | Cite as

Relative contribution of feedback processes to Arctic amplification of temperature change in MIROC GCM

  • Masakazu YoshimoriEmail author
  • Masahiro Watanabe
  • Ayako Abe-Ouchi
  • Hideo Shiogama
  • Tomoo Ogura


The finding that surface warming over the Arctic exceeds that over the rest of the world under global warming is a robust feature among general circulation models (GCMs). While various mechanisms have been proposed, quantifying their relative contributions is an important task in order to understand model behavior. Here we apply a recently proposed feedback analysis technique to an atmosphere–ocean GCM under two and four times CO2 concentrations which approximately lead to seasonally and annually sea ice-free climates. The contribution of feedbacks to Arctic temperature change is investigated. The surface warming in the Arctic is contributed by albedo, water vapour and large-scale condensation feedbacks and reduced by the evaporative cooling feedback. The surface warming contrast between the Arctic and the global averages (AA) is maintained by albedo and evaporative cooling feedbacks. The latter contributes to AA predominantly by cooling the low latitudes more than the Arctic. Latent heat transport into the Arctic increases and hence evaporative cooling plus large-scale condensation feedback contributes positively to AA. On the other hand, dry-static energy transport into the Arctic decreases and hence dynamical heating feedback contributes negatively to AA. An important contribution is thus made via changes in hydrological cycle and not via the ‘dry’ heat transport process. A larger response near the surface than aloft in the Arctic is maintained by the albedo, water vapour, and dynamical heating feedbacks, in which the albedo and water vapour feedbacks contribute through warming the surface more than aloft, and the dynamical heating feedback contributes by cooling aloft more than the surface. In our experiments, ocean and sea ice dynamics play a secondary role. It is shown that a different level of CO2 increase introduces a latitudinal and seasonal difference into the feedbacks.


Atlantic Meridional Overturn Circulation Albedo Feedback Water Vapour Feedback Arctic Warming Poleward Heat Transport 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The AOGCM and ASGCM experiments were carried out on the JAMSTEC Earth Simulator and the NIES supercomputer system (NEC SX-8R/128M16), respectively. We thank developers of freely available software, NCL. Constructive comments by Jianhua Lu and two anonymous reviewers are greatly appreciated. This research was supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (S-10) of the Japanese Ministry of the Environment and GRENE Arctic Climate Change Research Project. The contribution to this work from NIES was supported by the Program for Risk Information on Climate Change (PRICC).


  1. Alexeev VA, Langen PL, Bates JR (2005) Polar amplification of surface warming on an aquaplanet in “ghost forcing” experiments without sea ice feedbacks. Clim Dyn 24:655–666CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alexeev VA, Esau I, Polyakov IV, Byam SJ, Sorokina S (2011) Vertical structure of recent arctic warming from observed data and reanalysis products. Clim Chan 111:215–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andrews T, Ringer MA, Doutriaux-Boucher M, Webb MJ, Collins WJ (2012) Sensitivity of an Earth system climate model to idealized radiative forcing. Geophys Res Lett 39:L10702. doi: 10.1029/2012gl051942 Google Scholar
  4. Bintanja R, Graversen RG, Hazeleger W (2011) Arctic winter warming amplified by the thermal inversion and consequent low infrared cooling to space. Nat Geosci 4:758–761CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bintanja R, van der Linden EC, Hazeleger W (2012) Boundary layer stability and Arctic climate change: a feedback study using EC-Earth. Clim Dyn 39:2659–2673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boé J, Hall A, Qu X (2009) Current GCMs’ unrealistic negative feedback in the arctic. J Clim 22:4682–4695CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cai M (2005) Dynamical amplification of polar warming. Geophys Res Lett 32:L22710. doi: 10.1029/2005gl024481 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cai M, Lu JH (2009) A new framework for isolating individual feedback processes in coupled general circulation climate models. Part II: method demonstrations and comparisons. Clim Dyn 32:887–900CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crook JA, Forster PM, Stuber N (2011) Spatial patterns of modeled climate feedback and contributions to temperature response and polar amplification. J Clim 24:3575–3592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Curry JA, Schramm JL, Ebert EE (1995) Sea-ice albedo climate feedback mechanism. J Clim 8:240–247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Drijfhout S, van Oldenborgh GJ, Cimatoribus A (2012) Is a decline of AMOC causing the warming hole above the north Atlantic in observed and modeled warming patterns? J Clim 25:8373–8379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Goldenson N, Doherty SJ, Bitz CM, Holland MM, Light B, Conley AJ (2012) Arctic climate response to forcing from light-absorbing particles in snow and sea ice in CESM. Atmos Chem Phys 12:7903–7920CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Graversen RG, Wang MH (2009) Polar amplification in a coupled climate model with locked albedo. Clim Dyn 33:629–643CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Graversen RG, Mauritsen T, Tjernstrom M, Kallen E, Svensson G (2008) Vertical structure of recent Arctic warming. Nature 451:53–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hall A (2004) The role of surface albedo feedback in climate. J Clim 17:1550–1568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hall A, Manabe S (1999) The role of water vapor feedback in unperturbed climate variability and global warming. J Clim 12:2327–2346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Held IM, Soden BJ (2006) Robust responses of the hydrological cycle to global warming. J Clim 19:5686–5699CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Holland MM, Bitz CM (2003) Polar amplification of climate change in coupled models. Clim Dyn 21:221–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hwang YT, Frierson DMW, Kay JE (2011) Coupling between Arctic feedbacks and changes in poleward energy transport. Geophys Res Lett 38:L17704. doi: 10.1029/2011gl048546 Google Scholar
  20. K-1 model developers, X (2004) K-1 coupled model (miroc) description. Tech. rep., Center for Climate System Research, The University of TokyoGoogle Scholar
  21. Kay JE, Holland MM, Bitz CM, Blanchard-Wrigglesworth E, Gettelman A, Conley A, Bailey D (2012) The influence of local feedbacks and northward heat transport on the equilibrium arctic climate response to increased greenhouse gas forcing. J Clim 25:5433–5450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Laîné A, Kageyama M, Braconnot P, Alkama R (2009) Impact of greenhouse gas concentration changes on surface energetics in IPSL-CM4: regional warming patterns, land–sea warming ratios, and glacial–interglacial differences. J Clim 22:4621–4635CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Langen PL, Graversen RG, Mauritsen T (2012) Separation of contributions from radiative feedbacks to polar amplification on an aquaplanet. J Clim 25:3010–3024CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lu JH, Cai M (2009a) Seasonality of polar surface warming amplification in climate simulations. Geophys Res Lett 36:L16704. doi: 10.1029/2009gl040133 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lu JH, Cai M (2009b) A new framework for isolating individual feedback processes in coupled general circulation climate models. Part I: formulation. Clim Dyn 32:873–885CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lu JH, Cai M (2010) Quantifying contributions to polar warming amplification in an idealized coupled general circulation model. Clim Dyn 34:669–687CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mahlstein I, Knutti R (2011) Ocean heat transport as a cause for model uncertainty in projected arctic warming. J Clim 24:1451–1460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Manabe S, Stouffer RJ (1979) CO2-climate sensitivity study with a mathematical-model of the global climate. Nature 282:491–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Manabe S, Stouffer RJ (1980) Sensitivity of a global climate model to an increase of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. J Geophys Res 85:5529–5554CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Manabe S, Wetherald RT (1975) Effects of doubling CO2 concentration on climate of a general circulation model. J Atmos Sci 32:3–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. O’ishi R, Abe-Ouchi A (2009) Influence of dynamic vegetation on climate change arising from increasing CO2. Clim Dyn 33:645–663CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ohmura A (1984) On the cause of fram type seasonal change in diurnal amplitude of air-temperature in polar-regions. J Climatol 4:325–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ohmura A (2012) Enhanced temperature variability in high-altitude climate change. Theor Appl Climatol 110:499–508CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Qu X, Hall A (2007) What controls the strength of snow-albedo feedback? J Clim 20:3971–3981CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ridley J, Lowe J, Brierley C, Harris G (2007) Uncertainty in the sensitivity of Arctic sea ice to global warming in a perturbed parameter climate model ensemble. Geophys Res Lett 34:L19704. doi: 10.1029/2007gl031209 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Robock A (1983) Ice and snow feedbacks and the latitudinal and seasonal distribution of climate sensitivity. J Atmos Sci 40:986–997CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Schneider EK, Kirtman BP, Lindzen RS (1999) Tropospheric water vapor and climate sensitivity. J Atmos Sci 56:1649–1658CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Screen JA, Simmonds I (2010) The central role of diminishing sea ice in recent Arctic temperature amplification. Nature 464:1334–1337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Screen JA, Simmonds I (2011) Erroneous arctic temperature trends in the era-40 reanalysis: a closer look. J Clim 24:2620–2627CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Serreze MC, Barry RG (2011) Processes and impacts of Arctic amplification: a research synthesis. Global Planet Chan 77:85–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Serreze MC, Barrett AP, Stroeve JC, Kindig DN, Holland MM (2009) The emergence of surface-based Arctic amplification. Cryosphere 3:11–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Shindell D, Faluvegi G (2009) Climate response to regional radiative forcing during the twentieth century. Nat Geosci 2:294–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Soden BJ, Held IM, Colman R, Shell KM, Kiehl JT, Shields CA (2008) Quantifying climate feedbacks using radiative kernels. J Clim 21:3504–3520CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Taylor PC, Cai M, Hu A, Meehl J, Washington W, Zhang GJ (2013) A decomposition of feedback contributions to polar warming amplification. J Clim. doi: 10.1175/jcli-d-12-00696.1
  45. Tsushima Y, Emori S, Ogura T, Kimoto M, Webb MJ, Williams KD, Ringer MA, Soden BJ, Li B, Andronova N (2006) Importance of the mixed-phase cloud distribution in the control climate for assessing the response of clouds to carbon dioxide increase: a multi-model study. Clim Dyn 27:113–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Vavrus S (2004) The impact of cloud feedbacks on Arctic climate under greenhouse forcing. J Clim 17:603–615CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Winton M (2006) Amplified Arctic climate change: what does surface albedo feedback have to do with it? Geophys Res Lett 33:L03701. doi: 10.1029/2005gl025244 Google Scholar
  48. Yoshimori M, Abe-Ouchi A (2012) Sources of spread in multimodel projections of the Greenland ice sheet surface mass balance. J Clim 25:1157–1175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Yoshimori M, Yokohata T, Abe-Ouchi A (2009) A comparison of climate feedback strength between CO2 doubling and LGM experiments. J Clim 22:3374–3395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Yoshimori M, Hargreaves JC, Annan JD, Yokohata T, Abe-Ouchi A (2011) Dependency of feedbacks on forcing and climate state in physics parameter ensembles. J Clim 24:6440–6455CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masakazu Yoshimori
    • 1
    Email author
  • Masahiro Watanabe
    • 1
  • Ayako Abe-Ouchi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hideo Shiogama
    • 3
  • Tomoo Ogura
    • 3
  1. 1.Atmosphere and Ocean Research InstituteThe University of TokyoChibaJapan
  2. 2.Research Institute for Global ChangeJapan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and TechnologyYokohamaJapan
  3. 3.National Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukubaJapan

Personalised recommendations