Climate sensitivity and thermal inertia Academic Article uri icon


  • We compare several Atmosphere/Ocean General Circulation model control runs by fitting long control runs to a simple discrete (annual averages) stochastic model: Rate of change of global heat content = difference of absorbed and emitted radiation + white noise. If the heat content is taken to be proportional to the surface temperature we can estimate the effective (broad frequency-band average) heat capacity for the system by a regression procedure. We find a wide range of effective heat capacities that correlate significantly with the published sensitivities of the models. Models with large sensitivities have large thermal inertia. Several interpretations are discussed.

published proceedings

  • Geophysical Research Letters

author list (cited authors)

  • Wu, Q., & North, G. R.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Wu, Qigang||North, Gerald R

publication date

  • August 2002