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Geophysical Research Letters

Cloud tuning in a coupled climate model: Impact on 20th century warming

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Abstract

[1] Climate models incorporate a number of adjustable parameters in their cloud formulations. They arise from uncertainties in cloud processes. These parameters are tuned to achieve a desired radiation balance and to best reproduce the observed climate. A given radiation balance can be achieved by multiple combinations of parameters. We investigate the impact of cloud tuning in the CMIP5 GFDL CM3 coupled climate model by constructing two alternate configurations. They achieve the desired radiation balance using different, but plausible, combinations of parameters. The present-day climate is nearly indistinguishable among all configurations. However, the magnitude of the aerosol indirect effects differs by as much as 1.2 Wm  − 2, resulting in significantly different temperature evolution over the 20th century.

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