A Long View on Climate Sensitivity

Skinner, L. (2012) A Long View on Climate Sensitivity. Science, 337 (6097). pp. 917-919. ISSN 0036-8075 DOI https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1224011

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Humanity is engaged in an unprecedented climate experiment, the outcome of which is often framed in terms of an equilibrium “climate sensitivity.” This parameter encapsulates the amount of global warming that may be expected as a result of a doubling of the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration, which is equivalent to an additional 3.7 W m−2 of energy available to warm Earth's surface (1). The current best estimate of climate sensitivity is similar to the earliest estimates by Arrhenius (2) and Callendar (3), ranging from 2° to 4.5°C (4). Constraints on the lower limit of this range are much tighter than they are on the upper limit, with small but finite probabilities for very large climate sensitivities (4). Although the geological record provides strong support for climate sensitivities in this range, it also reminds us that a single value of climate sensitivity is unlikely to provide a complete picture of the climate system's response to forcing.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2012AREP
Subjects: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Divisions: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Journal or Publication Title: Science
Volume: 337
Page Range: pp. 917-919
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1224011
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2017 20:53
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 20:53
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/3942

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