In climate change projections, inter-model differences in cloud feedback have been identified as the largest source of uncertainty. The source terms of the cloud condensate tendency equation (CCTD) are expected to be useful diagnostics to better understand the different cloud responses to a CO2 increase in GCMs. To demonstrate the idea, analysis of the CCTD response to CO2 doubling is presented using two versions of a climate model with different climate sensitivities of 6.2°C ('HS'version) and 4.1°C ('LS'version). The model's response to CO2 doubling is characterized with a marked difference in the cloud feedback between the two versions, which is consistent with the cloud response in the southern middle latitudes: cloud decreases in the HS version and increases in the LS version. Analysis of the source terms reveals that the difference in cloud response is attributable to the ice sedimentation process. The results also suggest the importance of the vertical cloud ice profile which controls the ice sedimentation response to a CO2 increase, indicating the potential for providing constraints on the aspect of cloud feedback.
2008 by Meteorological Society of Japan