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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2019-35
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2019-35
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 09 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 09 Aug 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD).

Temperatures from Energy Balance Models: the effective heat capacity matters

Gerrit Lohmann1,2 Gerrit Lohmann
  • 1Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany

Abstract. Energy balance models (EBM) are highly simplified systems of the climate system. The global temperature is calculated by the radiation budget through the incoming energy from the Sun and the outgoing energy from the Earth. The argument that the temperature can be calculated by the simple radiation budget is revisited. The underlying assumption for a realistic temperature distribution is explored: One has to assume a moderate diurnal cycle due to the large heat capacity and the fast rotation of the Earth. Interestingly, the global mean in the revised EBM is very close to the originally proposed value. The time dependent-EBM predicts a flat meridional temperature gradient for large heat capacities which can be related to very effective vertical diffusion. Motivated by this finding, sensitivity experiments with a complex model are performed where the vertical diffusion in the ocean has been increased. The resulting climate shows a flat meridional temperature gradient and a deeper thermocline. The common pattern of surface temperature anomalies and climate reconstructions suggests a possible mechanism for past climate changes prior to 3 million years ago.

Gerrit Lohmann
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Status: open (until 24 Sep 2019)
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Gerrit Lohmann
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Short summary
With the development of computer capacities, simpler models like Energy balance models have not disappeared, a stronger emphasis has been given to the concept of a hierarchy of models. The global temperature is calculated by the radiation budget through the incoming energy from the Sun and the outgoing energy from the Earth. The argument that the temperature can be calculated by the simple radiation budget is revisited, the effective heat capacity matters.
With the development of computer capacities, simpler models like Energy balance models have not...
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