Box 2-1

Feedbacks in Climate Models

type, and to the distribution of industrial and other anthropogenic aerosols and gases, the atmospheric models calculate:

Feedbacks in the climate system occur when the output from one component is input into a second component, which then generates an output altering the first component. For example, increasing ambient air temperatures cause higher sea-surface temperatures, which result in decreased CO2 dissolution into the oceans, leading to higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations, which increases ambient air temperature. Climate models are constantly adjusted to account for the multiple non-linear feedbacks, which are common in nature.

  1. the time-dependent distribution of temperature and pressure,

  2. momentum (winds),

FIGURE 2-1 A representation of the major coupling mechanisms between the atmosphere and ocean subsystems. The processes in the shaded area are being developed offline. (Figure adapted from McGuffie and Henderson-Sellers, 1997. “A Climate Modelling Primer.” Figure 1-3 John Wiley and Sons, New York.)

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