Dependence of the land-sea contrast in surface climate response on the nature of the forcing
Article first published online: 20 DEC 2008
Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 35, Issue 24, December 2008
How to Cite
2008), Dependence of the land-sea contrast in surface climate response on the nature of the forcing, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L24802, doi:10.1029/2008GL036234., and (
- Issue published online: 20 DEC 2008
- Article first published online: 20 DEC 2008
- Manuscript Accepted: 13 NOV 2008
- Manuscript Received: 6 OCT 2008
- climate modeling
 The land-sea contrast in surface warming is a phenomenon of both transient and equilibrium climate change. Its magnitude, while model-dependent, is invariant with forcing amplitude. Here we demonstrate that the land-sea contrast is dependent on whether the climate forcing is mainly caused by changes to CO2 or other mechanisms such as solar or volcanic forcing: this is mainly because a CO2 change affects stomatal conductance in plants, and therefore changes the amount of evaporation from regions with vegetation present. In addition, solar or volcanic radiative forcing has a different latitudinal distribution to CO2 forcing: when this effect is removed by normalising the land temperature response by the average ocean temperature response at the same latitude, spatial differences between the CO2 forced run and the solar forced run become more apparent. Our results affect prediction of the land/sea contrast, as well as the interpretation of proxy climate data.