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Authors: Cherchi, A.* 
Masina, S.* 
Navarra, A.* 
Title: Impact of extreme CO2 levels on tropical climate: A CGCM study
Issue Date: 15-May-2008
Series/Report no.: /31 (2008)
DOI: 10.1007/s00382-008-0414-6
Keywords: coupled model
CO2 increase
climate sensitivity
Subject Classification01. Atmosphere::01.01. Atmosphere::01.01.04. Processes and Dynamics 
Abstract: A coupled general circulation model has been used to perform a set of experiments with high CO2 concentration (2, 4, 16 times the present day mean value). The experiments have been analyzed to study the response of the climate system to strong radiative forcing in terms of the processes involved in the adjustment at the ocean-atmosphere interface. The analysis of the experiments revealed a non-linear response of the mean state of the atmosphere and ocean to the increase in the carbon dioxide concentration. In the 16xCO2 experiment the equilibrium at the ocean-atmosphere interface is characterized by an atmosphere with a shut off of the convective precipitation in the tropical Pacific sector, associated with air warmer than the ocean below. A cloud feedback mechanism is found to be involved in the increased stability of the troposphere. In this more stable condition the mean total precipitation is mainly due to large-scale moisture flux even in the tropics. In the equatorial Pacific Ocean the zonal temperature gradient of both surface and sub-surface waters is significantly smaller in the 16xCO2 experiment than in the control experiment. The thermocline slope and the zonal wind stress decrease as well. When the CO2 concentration increases by about two and four times with respect to the control experiment there is an intensification of El Nino. On the other hand, in the experiment with 16 times the present-day value of CO2, the Tropical Pacific variability weakens, suggesting the possibility of the establishment of permanent warm conditions that look like the peak of El Nino.
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