220.127.116.11 Generic Understanding
Since the TAR, several GCM studies have calculated efficacies and a general understanding is beginning to emerge as to how and why efficacies vary between mechanisms. The initial climate state, and the sign and magnitude of the RF have less importance but can still affect efficacy (Boer and Yu, 2003a; Joshi et al., 2003; Hansen et al., 2005). These studies have also developed useful conceptual models to help explain variations in efficacy with forcing mechanism. The efficacy primarily depends on the spatial structure of the forcings and the way they project onto the various different feedback mechanisms (Boer and Yu, 2003b). Therefore, different patterns of RF and any nonlinearities in the forcing response relationship affects the efficacy (Boer and Yu, 2003b; Joshi et al., 2003; Hansen et al., 2005; Stuber et al., 2005; Sokolov, 2006). Many of the studies presented in Figure 2.19 find that both the geographical and vertical distribution of the forcing can have the most significant effect on efficacy (in particular see Boer and Yu, 2003b; Joshi et al., 2003; Stuber et al., 2005; Sokolov, 2006). Nearly all studies that examine it find that high-latitude forcings have higher efficacies than tropical forcings. Efficacy has also been shown to vary with the vertical distribution of an applied forcing (Hansen et al., 1997; Christiansen, 1999; Joshi et al., 2003; Cook and Highwood, 2004; Roberts and Jones, 2004; Forster and Joshi, 2005; Stuber et al., 2005; Sokolov, 2006). Forcings that predominately affect the upper troposphere are often found to have smaller efficacies compared to those that affect the surface. However, this is not ubiquitous as climate feedbacks (such as cloud and water vapour) will depend on the static stability of the troposphere and hence the sign of the temperature change in the upper troposphere (Govindasamy et al., 2001b; Joshi et al., 2003; Sokolov, 2006).
18.104.22.168 Long-Lived Greenhouse Gases
The few models that have examined efficacy for combined LLGHG changes generally find efficacies slightly higher than 1.0 (Figure 2.19). Further, the most recent result from the NCAR Community Climate Model (CCM3) GCM (Govindasamy et al., 2001b) indicates an efficacy of over 1.2 with no clear reason of why this changed from earlier versions of the same model. Individual LLGHG efficacies have only been analysed in two or three models. Two GCMs suggest higher efficacies from individual components (over 30% for CFCs in Hansen et al., 2005). In contrast another GCM gives efficacies for CFCs (Forster and Joshi, 2005) and CH4 (Berntsen et al., 2005) that are slightly less than one. Overall there is medium confidence that the observed changes in the combined LLGHG changes have an efficacy close to 1.0 (within 10%), but there are not enough studies to constrain the efficacies for individual species.