A straightforward mechanism based on properties of the moist adiabat is proposed to construe the observed latitudinal and longitudinal distribution of the anthropogenic forcing efficiency. Considering precipitation patterns at the planetary scale, idealized environmental adiabats leading to low-pressure systems are deduced. When the climate system responds to a small perturbation, which reflects radiative forcing that follows increasing anthropogenic emissions, the dry and moist adiabatic lapse rates move away from each other as the temperature of the moist adiabat at the altitude z = 0 increases. When the atmosphere becomes unstable, under the influence of the perturbation, a positive feedback loop occurs because of a transient change in the emission level height of outgoing longwave radiation in the saturated absorption bands of water vapor. During these periods of instability, the perturbation of the climate system is exerted with the concomitant warming of the surface temperature. In contrast, the return of the surface temperature to its initial value before the development of the cyclonic system is very slow because heat exchanges are mainly ruled by latent and sensible heat fluxes. Consequently, the mean surface temperature turns out to result from successive events with asymmetrical surface–atmosphere heat exchanges. The forcing efficiency differs according to whether atmospheric instability has a continental or oceanic origin. Hence the rendition of the latitudinal and longitudinal distribution of the observed surface temperature response to anthropogenic forcing, which specifies in detail the mechanisms involved in the various climate systems, including the Arctic amplification.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited