Publication Abstracts

Hansen 1993

Hansen, J., 1993: Climate forcings and feedbacks. In Long-Term Monitoring of Global Climate Forcings and Feedbacks, NASA CP-3234. J. Hansen, W. Rossow, and I. Fung, Eds. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, pp. 6-12.

Global temperature has increased significantly during the past century. Understanding the causes of observed global temperature change is impossible in the absence of adequate monitoring of changes in global climate forcings and radiative fedbacks. Climate forcings are changes imposed on the planet's energy balance, such as change of incoming sunlight or a human-induced change of surface properties due to deforestation. Radiative feedbacks are radiative changes induced by climate change, such as alteration of cloud properties or the extent of sea ice.

Monitoring of global climate forcings and feedbacks, if sufficiently precise and long-term, can provide a very strong constraint on interpretation of observed temperature change. Such monitoring is essential to eliminate uncertainties about the relative importance of various climate change mechanisms including tropospheric sulfate aerosols from burning of coal and oil, smoke from slash and burn agriculture, changes of solar irradiance, changes of several greenhouse gases, and many other mechanisms.

The considerable variability of observed temperature, together with evidence that a substantial portion of this variability is unforced, indicates that observations of climate forcings and feedbacks must be continued for decades. Since the climate system responds to the time integral of the forcing, a further requirement is that the observations be carried out continuously.

However, precise observations of forcings and feedbacks will also be able to provide valuable conclusions on shorter time scales. For example, knowledge of the climate forcing by increasing CFCs relative to the forcing by changing ozone is important to policymakers, as is information on the forcing by CO2 relative to the forcing by sulfate aerosols. It will also be possible to obtain valuable tests of climate models on short time scales, if there is precise monitoring of all forcings and feedbacks during and after events such as a large volcanic eruption or an El Nino.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Hansen, J.},
  editor={Hansen, J. and Rossow, W. and Fung, I.},
  title={Climate forcings and feedbacks},
  booktitle={Long-Term Monitoring of Global Climate Forcings and Feedbacks},
  publisher={National Aeronautics and Space Administration},
  address={Washington, D.C.},

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RIS Citation

ID  - ha05210a
AU  - Hansen, J.
ED  - Hansen, J.
ED  - Rossow, W.
ED  - Fung, I.
PY  - 1993
TI  - Climate forcings and feedbacks
BT  - Long-Term Monitoring of Global Climate Forcings and Feedbacks
SP  - 6
EP  - 12
PB  - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
CY  - Washington, D.C.
ER  -

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