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Are response function representations of the global carbon cycle ever interpretable?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date04/2009
JournalTellus Series B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology
Journal number2
Volume61
Number of pages11
Pages361-371
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Response function models are often used to represent the behaviour of complex, high order global carbon cycle (GCC) and climate models in applications which require short model run times. Although apparently black-box, these response function models need not necessarily be entirely opaque, but instead may also convey useful insights into the properties of the parent model or process. By exploiting a transfer function (TF) framework to analyse the Lenton GCC model, this paper attempts to demonstrate that response function representations of GCC models can sometimes also provide structural information on the parent model from which they are identified and calibrated. We take a fifth-order TF identified from the impulse response of the Lenton model atmospheric burden, and decompose this to show how it can be re-expresses in a generic five-box form in sympathy with the structure of the parent model.