Climate and Dynamics
Response of Earth's surface temperature to radiative forcing over A.D. 1–2009
Article first published online: 15 JUL 2011
Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (1984–2012)
Volume 116, Issue D13, 16 July 2011
How to Cite
2011), Response of Earth's surface temperature to radiative forcing over A.D. 1–2009, J. Geophys. Res., 116, D13112, doi:10.1029/2010JD015143.(
- Issue published online: 15 JUL 2011
- Article first published online: 15 JUL 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 12 APR 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 5 APR 2011
- Manuscript Received: 4 OCT 2010
 An energy balance model (EBM) of the annual global mean surface temperature is described and calibrated to the sensitivity and temporal dynamics of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies modelE global climate model (GCM). The effective radiative forcings of 10 agents are estimated over the past 2009 years and used as inputs to the model. Temperatures are relatively stable from around A.D. 300 until a “Medieval Climate Anomaly” starting around A.D. 1050. This is ended by a massive volcanic eruption in A.D. 1258, which initiates a multicentury era of low and relatively variable global mean temperatures, including a “Little Ice Age” A.D. 1588–1720. This era only ends at the beginning of the 20th century. The model estimate of forced centennial variability is smaller than the observed variability in reconstructions over the past two millennia. Also, the default parameterization results in less warming than observed over A.D. 1910–1944. Prediction uncertainty in the pre-industrial era is dominated by solar forcing, with the climate feedback factor and volcanic aerosols also playing important roles. In contrast, prediction uncertainty post–A.D. 1750 is much higher and dominated by uncertainties in direct and indirect aerosol and land use forcings. Improving estimates of these will greatly increase our ability to attribute observed temperature variability to contemporary forcings.