UCLouvain, Earth and Life Institute, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
The Pennsylvania State University, Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, University Park, PA, USA
Abstract. In this study, we highlight a component of global warming variability, a scaling law that is based purely on fundamental physical properties of the climate system. We suggest that three similarity parameters define the system response to external forcing, and an argument of physical similarity with observed climate responses in the past can be made when all three parameters are identical for the current and historical climates. We determined that the scaling law of global warming is the (𝜆 + 1 + m) – power of time, where 𝜆 is prescribed by external forcing and m is defined by climate system internal dynamics. When the climate system develops in the direction of intensified positive feedbacks, the power m changes from m = −1 (negative feedbacks dominate) to m ≥ 1 (positive feedbacks dominate). We also establish that a “hothouse” climate with dominant positive feedbacks will be preceded by a climate having a property of incomplete similarity in feedbacks similarity parameters. It implies that the same future scenario may be produced by climate feedbacks of different magnitudes as long as their positive-to-negative ratio is the same.
How to cite. Verbitsky, M. and Mann, M.: ESD Ideas: A Global Warming Scaling Law, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss. [preprint], https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2021-87, 2021.
Received: 01 Nov 2021 – Discussion started: 03 Nov 2021