Evaluation of the absolute regional temperature potential

Shindell, D. (2012), Evaluation of the absolute regional temperature potential, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 7955-7960, doi:10.5194/acp-12-7955-2012.

The Absolute Regional Temperature Potential (ARTP) is one of the few climate metrics that provides estimates of impacts at a sub-global scale. The ARTP presented here gives the time-dependent temperature response in four latitude bands (90–28◦ S, 28◦ S–28◦ N, 28–60◦ N and 60–90◦ N) as a function of emissions based on the forcing in those bands caused by the emissions. It is based on a large set of simulations performed with a single atmosphere-ocean climate model to derive regional forcing/response relationships. Here I evaluate the robustness of those relationships using the forcing/response portion of the ARTP to estimate regional temperature responses to the historic aerosol forcing in three independent climate models. These ARTP results are in good accord with the actual responses in those models. Nearly all ARTP estimates fall within ±20 % of the actual responses, though there are some exceptions for 90–28◦ S and the Arctic, and in the latter the ARTP may vary with forcing agent. However, for the tropics and the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes in particular, the ±20 % range appears to be roughly consistent with the 95 % confidence interval. Land areas within these two bands respond 39–45 % and 9–39 % more than the latitude band as a whole. The ARTP, presented here in a slightly revised form, thus appears to provide a relatively robust estimate for the responses of large-scale latitude bands and land areas within those bands to inhomogeneous radiative forcing and thus potentially to emissions as well. Hence this metric could allow rapid evaluation of the effects of emissions policies at a finer scale than global metrics without requiring use of a full climate model.

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Applied Sciences Program (ASP)
Modeling Analysis and Prediction Program (MAP)