Publication Abstracts

Miller and Del Genio 1994

Miller, R.L., and A.D. Del Genio, 1994: Tropical cloud feedbacks and natural variability of climate. J. Climate, 7, 1388-1402, doi:10.1175/1520-0442(1994)007<1388:TCFANV>2.0.CO;2.

Simulations of natural variability by two GCMs are examined. One GCM is a sector model, allowing relatively rapid integration without simplification of the model physics, which would potentially exclude mechanisms of variability. Two mechanisms are found in which tropical surface temperature and SST vary on interannual and longer timescales. Both are related to changes in cloud cover that modulate SST through the surface radiative flux.

Over the equatorial ocean, SST and surface temperature vary on an interannual timsecale, which is determined by the magnitude of the associated cloud cover anomalies. Over the subtropical ocean, variations in low cloud cover drive SST variations. In the sector model, the variability has no preferred timescale, but instead is characterized by a "red" spectrum with increasing power at longer periods. In the terrestrial GCM, SST variability associated with low cloud anomalies has a decadal timescale and is the dominant form of global temperature variability.

Both GCMs are coupled to a mixed layer ocean model, where dynamical heat transports are prescribed, thus filtering out ENSO and thermohaline circulation variability. The occurrence of variability in the absence of dynamical ocean feedbacks suggests that climatic variability on long timescales can arise from atmospheric processes alone.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Miller, R. L. and Del Genio, A. D.},
  title={Tropical cloud feedbacks and natural variability of climate},
  journal={Journal of Climate},

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RIS Citation

ID  - mi01700z
AU  - Miller, R. L.
AU  - Del Genio, A. D.
PY  - 1994
TI  - Tropical cloud feedbacks and natural variability of climate
JA  - J. Climate
JO  - Journal of Climate
VL  - 7
SP  - 1388
EP  - 1402
DO  - 10.1175/1520-0442(1994)007%3C1388%3ATCFANV%3E2.0.CO;2
ER  -

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