Small ice caps in climate models

  • Gerald R. North
  • Kwang-Yul Kin
  • Wan-Ho Lee
Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 48)


The presence of ice or snow at the surface of the Earth changes the reflectivity of the system to sunlight. When the planet is made colder by changing some control parameter such as the solar constant, ice caps grow; moreover, the increased reflectivity (albedo) of the ice-covered surface causes an enhancement of the cooling. The effect of the ice-cap growth is to amplify the effects of an externally induced climate change. The ice-clbedo mechanism is a positive feedback in the climate system. The climate system has many feedbacks, positive and negative. They play various roles in forced climate change. This lecture will concentrate on the effects of that one isolated feedback, since in this simplified form the problem becomes tractable and quasi analytical solutions can be found.


Energy Balance Equation Spectral Form Energy Balance Model Induce Climate Change Shallow Minimum 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald R. North
    • 1
  • Kwang-Yul Kin
    • 1
  • Wan-Ho Lee
    • 2
  1. 1.Climate System Research ProgramTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.Scripps Oceanographics IstitutionUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego, LaJollaUSA

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