First comprehensive assessment of industrial era land heat uptake from multiple sources
Abstract. The anthropogenically-intensified greenhouse effect has caused a radiative imbalance at the top of the atmosphere during the industrial period. This, in turn, has led to an energy surplus in various components of the Earth system, with the ocean storing the largest part. The land contribution ranks second with the latest observational estimates based on borehole temperature profiles, which quantify the terrestrial energy surplus to be 6 % in the last five decades, whereas studies based on state-of-the-art climate models scale it down to 2 %. This underestimation stems from land surface models (LSMs) having a too shallow subsurface, which severely constrains the land heat uptake simulated by Earth System Models (ESMs). A forced simulation of the last 2000 years with the Max Planck Institute ESM (MPI-ESM) using a deep LSM captures 4 times more heat than the standard shallow MPI-ESM simulations in the historical period, well above the estimates provided by other ESMs. However, deepening the LSM does not remarkably affect the simulated surface temperature. It is shown that the heat stored during the historical period by an ESM using a deep LSM component can be accurately estimated by considering the surface temperatures simulated by the ESM using a shallow LSM and propagating them with a standalone forward model. This result is used to derive estimates of land heat uptake using all available observational datasets, reanalysis products, and state-of-the-art ESM experiments. This approach yields values of 10.5–16.0 ZJ for 1971–2018, slightly smaller than the latest borehole-based estimates (18.2 ZJ).
Status: final response (author comments only)
Viewed (geographical distribution)