(American Geophysical Union, 2019-04-25)
Irving, Damien; Wijffels, Susan E.; Church, John A.
The largest contributor to the planetary energy imbalance is well‐mixed greenhouse gases (GHGs), which are partially offset by poorly mixed (and thus northern midlatitude dominated) anthropogenic aerosols (AAs). To isolate the effects of GHGs and AAs, we analyze data from the CMIP5 historical (i.e., all natural and anthropogenic forcing) and single forcing (GHG‐only and AA‐only) experiments. Over the duration of the historical experiment (1861–2005) excess heat uptake at the top of the atmosphere and ocean surface occurs almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere, with AAs canceling the influence of GHGs in the Northern Hemisphere. This interhemispheric asymmetry in surface heat uptake is eliminated by a northward oceanic transport of excess heat, as there is little hemispheric difference in historical ocean heat storage after accounting for ocean volume. Data from the 1pctCO2 and RCP 8.5 experiments suggests that the future storage of excess heat will be skewed toward the Northern Hemisphere oceans.