Previous studies quantify surface albedo feedback (SAF) in climate change, but few assess its variability on decadal time scales. Using the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Version 5 (CMIP5) multimodel ensemble data set, we calculate time evolving SAF in multiple decades from surface albedo and temperature linear regressions. Results are meaningful when temperature change exceeds 0.5 K. Decadal‐scale SAF is strongly correlated with century‐scale SAF during the 21st century. Throughout the 21st century, multimodel ensemble mean SAF increases from 0.37 to 0.42 W m−2 K−1. These results suggest that models' mean decadal‐scale SAFs are good estimates of their century‐scale SAFs if there is at least 0.5 K temperature change. Persistent SAF into the late 21st century indicates ongoing capacity for Arctic albedo decline despite there being less sea ice. If the CMIP5 multimodel ensemble results are representative of the Earth, we cannot expect decreasing Arctic sea ice extent to suppress SAF in the 21st century.
Geophysical Research Letters – Wiley
Published: Jan 28, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ; ;
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