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A process-based decomposition of decadal-scale surface temperature evolutions over East Asia

Chen, Junwen, Deng, Yi, Lin, Wenshi, Yang, Song
Climate dynamics 2018 v.51 no.11-12 pp. 4371-4383
carbon dioxide, climate, cooling, heat, latent heat flux, latitude, ozone, sensible heat flux, snowpack, solar radiation, surface temperature, water vapor, China, India, Siberia
This study partitions the observed decadal evolution of surface temperature and surface temperature differences between two decades (early 2000s and early 1980s) over the East Asian continent into components associated with individual radiative and non-radiative (dynamical) processes in the context of the coupled atmosphere-surface climate feedback-response analysis method (CFRAM). Rapid warming in this region occurred in late 1980s and early 2000s with a transient pause of warming between the two periods. The rising CO₂ concentration provides a sustained, region-wide warming contribution and surface albedo effect, largely related to snow cover change, is important for warming/cooling over high-latitude and high-elevation regions. Sensible hear flux and surface dynamics dominates the evolution of surface temperature, with latent heat flux and atmospheric dynamics working against them mostly through large-scale and convective/turbulent heat transport. Cloud via its shortwave effect provides positive contributions to warming over southern Siberia and South China. The longwave effect associated with water vapor change contributes significant warming over northern India, Tibetan Plateau, and central Siberia. Impacts of solar irradiance and ozone changes are relatively small. The strongest year-to-year temperature fluctuation occurred at a rapid warming (1987–1988) and a rapid cooling (1995–1996) period. The pattern of the rapid warming receives major positive contributions from sensible heat flux with changes in atmospheric dynamics, water vapor, clouds, and albedo providing secondary positive contributions, while surface dynamics and latent heat flux providing negative contributions. The signs of the contributions from individual processes to the rapid cooling are almost opposite to those to the rapid warming.