DataSheet1_Understanding the Differences Between TOA and Surface Energy Budget Attributions of Surface Warming.docx (293.14 kB)
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DataSheet1_Understanding the Differences Between TOA and Surface Energy Budget Attributions of Surface Warming.docx

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posted on 20.10.2021, 04:22 authored by Sergio A. Sejas, Xiaoming Hu, Ming Cai, Hanjie Fan

Energy budget decompositions have widely been used to evaluate individual process contributions to surface warming. Conventionally, the top-of-atmosphere (TOA) energy budget has been used to carry out such attribution, while other studies use the surface energy budget instead. However, the two perspectives do not provide the same interpretation of process contributions to surface warming, particularly when executing a spatial analysis. These differences cloud our understanding and inhibit our ability to shrink the inter-model spread. Changes to the TOA energy budget are equivalent to the sum of the changes in the atmospheric and surface energy budgets. Therefore, we show that the major discrepancies between the surface and TOA perspectives are due to non-negligible changes in the atmospheric energy budget that differ from their counterparts at the surface. The TOA lapse-rate feedback is the manifestation of multiple processes that produce a vertically non-uniform warming response such that it accounts for the asymmetry between the changes in the atmospheric and surface energy budgets. Using the climate feedback-response analysis method, we are able to decompose the lapse-rate feedback into contributions by individual processes. Combining the process contributions that are hidden within the lapse-rate feedback with their respective direct impacts on the TOA energy budget allows for a very consistent picture of process contributions to surface warming and its inter-model spread as that given by the surface energy budget approach.

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