IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis

2.8.5 Efficacy and Effective Radiative Forcing

Efficacy (E) is defined as the ratio of the climate sensitivity parameter for a given forcing agent (λi) to the climate sensitivity parameter for CO2 changes, that is, Ei = λi / λCO2 (Joshi et al., 2003; Hansen and Nazarenko, 2004). Efficacy can then be used to define an effective RF (= Ei RFi) (Joshi et al., 2003; Hansen et al., 2005). For the effective RF, the climate sensitivity parameter is independent of the mechanism, so comparing this forcing is equivalent to comparing the equilibrium global mean surface temperature change. That is, ΔTs = λCO2 x Ei x RFi Preliminary studies have found that efficacy values for a number of forcing agents show less model dependency than the climate sensitivity values (Joshi et al., 2003). Effective RFs have been used get one step closer to an estimator of the likely surface temperature response than can be achieved by using RF alone (Sausen and Schumann, 2000; Hansen et al., 2005; Lohmann and Feichter, 2005). Adopting the zero-surface-temperature-change RF, which has efficacies closer to unity, may be another way of achieving similar goals (see Section 2.8.3). This section assesses the efficacy associated with stratospherically adjusted RF, as this is the definition of RF adopted in this chapter (see Section 2.2). Therefore, cloud-aerosol interaction effects beyond the cloud albedo RF are included in the efficacy term. The findings presented in this section are from an assessment of all the studies referenced in the caption of Figure 2.19, which presents a synthesis of efficacy results. As space is limited not all these studies are explicitly discussed in the main text.



Figure 2.19. Efficacies as calculated by several GCM models for realistic changes in RF agents. Letters are centred on efficacy value and refer to the literature study that the value is taken from (see text of Section 2.8.5 for details and further discussion). In each RF category, only one result is taken per model or model formulation. Cloud-albedo efficacies are evaluated in two ways: the standard letters include cloud lifetime effects in the efficacy term and the letters with asterisks exclude these effects. Studies assessed in the figure are: a) Hansen et al. (2005); b) Wang et al. (1991); c) Wang et al. (1992); d) Govindasamy et al. (2001b); e) Lohmann and Feichter (2005); f) Forster et al. (2000); g) Joshi et al. (2003; see also Stuber et al., 2001a); h) Gregory et al. (2004); j) Sokolov (2006); k) Cook and Highwood (2004); m) Mickley et al. (2004); n) Rotstayn and Penner (2001); o) Roberts and Jones (2004) and p) Williams et al. (2001a).