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

TS 2.6 Surface Forcing and the Hydrologic Cycle

Observations and models indicate that changes in the radiative flux at the Earth’s surface affect the surface heat and moisture budgets, thereby involving the hydrologic cycle. Recent studies indicate that some forcing agents can influence the hydrologic cycle differently than others through their interactions with clouds. In particular, changes in aerosols may have affected precipitation and other aspects of the hydrologic cycle more strongly than other anthropogenic forcing agents. Energy deposited at the surface directly affects evaporation and sensible heat transfer. The instantaneous radiative flux change at the surface (hereafter called ‘surface forcing’) is a useful diagnostic tool for understanding changes in the heat and moisture surface budgets and the accompanying climate change. However, unlike radiative forcing, it cannot be used to quantitatively compare the effects of different agents on the equilibrium global mean surface temperature change. Net radiative forcing and surface forcing have different equator-to-pole gradients in the NH, and are different between the NH and SH. {2.9, 7.2, 7.5, 9.5}