Discrepancies in Climate Model Predictions of Future Warming Attributed to Mid-Latitude Low Cloud Representations: A Study in Nature Communications Led by JIFRESSE Scientists

September 12, 2023


A novel publication in Nature Communications elucidates the intricate relationships between future warming projections and the representation of mid-latitude low clouds in advanced climate models. The study was orchestrated by Drs. Xianan Jiang and Hui Su from JIFRESSE, in collaboration with experts from UCLA AOS Department (David Neelin), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Jonathan Jiang, Longtao Wu), UK Meteorological Office (Yoko Tsushima), and Columbia University (Gregory Elsaesser).

The research underscores that significant discrepancies in the projected anthropogenic warming among contemporary climate models can be attributed to the models' delineation of mid-latitude low clouds. High climate sensitivity models, which predict pronounced future warming, consistently simulate a substantial decrease in mid-latitude low clouds from the winter to summer months. This simulation is in concordance with extant satellite observations. Conversely, the seasonal variation is predominantly absent in the models of lower climate sensitivity, which project a more tempered future warming trajectory.

These findings suggest that low climate sensitivity models might underestimate the increase in global temperature following a twofold increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Such underestimations are shown by Jiang and co-authors closely related to these models' inefficacy in accurately simulating the seasonal cycle of mid-latitude low clouds.

Global climate models have paramount significance in guiding climate policy. This study not only enhances the scientific community's understanding of the multifaceted climate systems, but also points clear directions to advance climate modeling for better projections of future climate.

For a comprehensive knowledge of the study, the article can be accessed on Nature Communications https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-023-41360-0.