The vertical distribution of cloud feedback in coupled ocean-atmosphere models
Article first published online: 28 JUN 2011
Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 38, Issue 12, June 2011
How to Cite
2011), The vertical distribution of cloud feedback in coupled ocean-atmosphere models, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L12704, doi:10.1029/2011GL047632., and (
- Issue published online: 28 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 28 JUN 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 MAY 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 13 MAY 2011
- Manuscript Received: 30 MAR 2011
- cloud feedback
 We assess the vertical distribution of cloud feedbacks in coupled climate models, taking care to distinguish between cloud feedbacks and a change in cloud forcing. We show that the effect of cloud changes on the longwave fluxes provides a strong positive feedback that is broadly consistent across models. In contrast, the effect of cloud changes on the shortwave fluxes ranges from a modest negative to a strong positive feedback, and is responsible for most of the intermodel spread in net cloud feedback. The feedback from high clouds is positive in all models, and is consistent with that anticipated by the Proportionately Higher Anvil Temperature hypothesis over the tropics. In contrast, low cloud cover is responsible for roughly three-quarters of the difference in global mean net cloud feedback among models, with the largest contributions from regions associated with low-level subtropical marine cloud systems.