Articles | Volume 8, issue 3
Earth Syst. Dynam., 8, 849–864, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-8-849-2017
Earth Syst. Dynam., 8, 849–864, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-8-849-2017

Research article 25 Sep 2017

Research article | 25 Sep 2017

An explanation for the different climate sensitivities of land and ocean surfaces based on the diurnal cycle

Axel Kleidon and Maik Renner

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We provide an explanation why land temperatures respond more strongly to global warming than ocean temperatures, a robust finding in observations and models that has so far not been understood well. We explain it by the different ways by which ocean and land surfaces buffer the strong variation in solar radiation and demonstrate this with a simple, physically based model. Our explanation also illustrates why nighttime temperatures warm more strongly, another robust finding of global warming.
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