Temperature and humidity biases in global climate models and their impact on climate feedbacks

V. O. John, Brian J. Soden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


A comparison of AIRS and reanalysis temperature and humidity profiles to those simulated from climate models reveals large biases. The model simulated temperatures are systematically colder by 1-4 K throughout the troposphere. On average, current models also simulate a large moist bias in the free troposphere (more than 100%) but a dry bias in the boundary layer (up to 25%). While the overall pattern of biases is fairly common from model to model, the magnitude of these biases is not. In particular, the free tropospheric cold and moist bias varies significantly from one model to the next. In contrast, the response of water vapor and tropospheric temperature to a surface warming is shown to be remarkably consistent across models and uncorrelated to the bias in the mean state. We further show that these biases, while significant, have little direct impact on the models' simulation of water vapor and lapse-rate feedbacks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL18704
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 28 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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