Graduate Student / Postdoc Seminar

How to explain transient climate change with one equation?

Speaker: Laure Zanna, CIMS/CAOS

Location: Warren Weaver Hall 1302

Date: Friday, March 6, 2020, 1 p.m.


The ocean takes up more than 90% of the anthropogenic heat released in the climate system, therefore mediating global warming on decadal to centennial timescales. The magnitude and rate of ocean heat uptake are affected by several key processes in the ocean: some are laminar and some are turbulent. These processes and their response to forcing can impact global mean surface temperature by carrying heat and carbon from the surface to the ocean interior. The current generation of climate models shows large spreads in their transient climate response and rate of ocean heat uptake. No consistent theory has yet emerged to explain the magnitude of heat uptake and its spread. Using a hierarchy of models, I will present a set of emergent constraints for the rate of ocean heat uptake - boiling it down to one equation with one constant setting the response of the ocean to climate change.