14 Jun 2021

14 Jun 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal WCD.

Future summer warming pattern under climate change is regulated by lapse-rate changes

Roman Brogli1, Silje Lund Sørland1,2, Nico Kröner1,3, and Christoph Schär1 Roman Brogli et al.
  • 1Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Universitätstrasse 16, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2NORCE, Jahnebakken 5, 5007 Bergen, Norway
  • 3South Pole, Technoparkstrasse 1, 8005 Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract. Greenhouse gas-driven global temperature change projections exhibit spatial variations, meaning that certain land areas will experience substantially enhanced or reduced surface warming. It is vital to understand enhanced regional warming anomalies as they locally increase heat-related risks to human health and ecosystems. We argue that tropospheric lapse-rate changes play a key role in shaping the future summer warming pattern around the globe in mid-latitudes and the tropics. We present multiple lines of evidence supporting this finding based on idealized simulations over Europe, as well as regional and global climate model ensembles. All simulations consistently show that the vertical distribution of tropospheric summer warming is different in regions characterized by enhanced or reduced surface warming. Enhanced warming is projected where lapse-rate changes are small, implying that the surface and the upper troposphere experience similar warming. On the other hand, strong lapse-rate changes cause a concentration of warming in the upper troposphere and reduced warming near the surface. The varying magnitude of lapse-rate changes is governed by the temperature dependence of the moist-adiabatic lapse rate and the available tropospheric humidity. We conclude that tropospheric temperature changes should be considered along with surface processes when assessing the causes of surface warming patterns.

Roman Brogli et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on wcd-2021-34', Anonymous Referee #1, 18 Jun 2021
  • CC1: 'Moist Heat Stress on a Hotter Earth', Jonathan Buzan, 20 Jun 2021
  • RC2: 'Review for wcd-2021-34', Anonymous Referee #2, 16 Jul 2021

Roman Brogli et al.

Model code and software

Software to prepare idealized experiments Roman Brogli and Jesús Vergara-Temprado

Roman Brogli et al.


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Short summary
In a warmer future climate, climate simulations predict that some land areas will experience excessive warming during summer. We show that the excessive summer warming is related to the vertical distribution of warming within the atmosphere. In regions characterized by excessive warming, much of the warming occurs close to the surface. In other regions, most of the warming is re-distributed to higher levels in the atmosphere which weakens the surface warming.