WP 3: Feedback Mechanisms

Work Package 3: Climate feedback mechanisms
The recent warming of the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and soils is most probably caused by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitric oxide) originating from human activities. This warming invokes direct physical and chemical changes in the various components of the Earth system, but also activates climate feedback mechanisms that enhance or weaken these changes.

Some feedbacks act on timescales of years to decades, while others take centuries or millennia to millions of years to take effect. Because of their inherent nonlinear nature, many of these feedback mechanisms are currently poorly represented in Earth System Models. The goal of this work package is to quantify and parameterize these feedback mechanisms.

NESSC prioritizes three classes of feedback mechanisms: physical feedbacks between the cryosphere, atmosphere and oceans, feedbacks between the atmosphere and terrestrial biosphere, and biochemical feedbacks between the atmosphere and ocean.

To retrieve more reliable results from the current Earth System Models in the first place, more accurate input is necessary. This input is provided by Work Package 2 as climate variables, such as atmosphere greenhouse gases concentrations and temperature, sea surface and land ice volume.

Feedback timescales

Contact person: prof. dr. Michiel van den Broeke