Climate change projections for the twenty-first century and climate change commitment in the CCSM3

Gerald A. Meehl, Warren M. Washington, Benjamin D. Santer, William D. Collins, Julie M. Arblaster, Aixue Hu, David M. Lawrence, Haiyan Teng, Lawrence E. Buja, Warren G. Strand

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225 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change scenario simulations with the Community Climate System Model version 3 (CCSM3), a global coupled climate model, show that if concentrations of all greenhouse gases (GHGs) could have been stabilized at the year 2000, the climate system would already be committed to 0.4°C more warming by the end of the twenty-first century. Committed sea level rise by 2100 is about an order of magnitude more, percentage-wise, compared to sea level rise simulated in the twentieth century. This increase in the model is produced only by thermal expansion of seawater, and does not take into account melt from ice sheets and glaciers, which could at least double that number. Several tenths of a degree of additional warming occurs in the model for the next 200 yr in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) B1 and A1B scenarios after stabilization in the year 2100, but with twice as much sea level rise after 100 yr, and doubling yet again in the next 100 yr to 2300. At the end of the twenty-first century, the warming in the tropical Pacific for the A2, A1B, and B1 scenarios resembles an El Niño-like response, likely due to cloud feedbacks in the model as shown in an earlier version. Greatest warming occurs at high northern latitudes and over continents. The monsoon regimes intensify somewhat in the future warmer climate, with decreases of sea level pressure at high latitudes and increases in the subtropics and parts of the midlatitudes. There is a weak summer midlatitude soil moisture drying in this model as documented in previous models. Sea ice distributions in both hemispheres are somewhat over-extensive, but with about the right ice thickness at the end of the twentieth century. Future decreases in sea ice with global warming are proportional to the temperature response from the forcing scenarios, with the high forcing scenario, A2, producing an ice-free Arctic in summer by the year 2100.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2597-2616
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes

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