Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New paper finds transient climate sensitivity to doubled CO2 levels is only about 1C

A new paper published in Ecological Modelling finds climate sensitivity to doubled CO2 concentrations is significantly lower than estimates from the IPCC and climate models which "utilize uncertain historical data and make various assumptions about forcings." The author instead uses a 'minimal model' with the fewest possible assumptions and least data uncertainty to derive a transient climate sensitivity of only 1.093C:
"A minimal model was used that has the fewest possible assumptions and the least data uncertainty. Using only the historical surface temperature record, the periodic temperature oscillations often associated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation were estimated and subtracted from the surface temperature data, leaving a linear warming trend identified as an anthropogenic signal. This estimated rate of warming was related to the fraction of a log CO2 doubling from 1959 to 2013 to give an estimated transient sensitivity of 1.093 °C (0.96–1.23 °C 95% confidence limits) and equilibrium climate sensitivity of 1.99 °C (1.75–2.23 °C). It is argued that higher estimates derived from climate models are incorrect because they disagree with empirical estimates."
Otto et al find equilibrium climate sensitivity [over the next several centuries] is only ~1.3 times greater than transient climate sensitivity, thus the estimate of 1.093C transient sensitivity could be associated with as little as 1.4C equilibrium sensitivity, less than half of the implied IPCC central estimate in AR5 of ~3.3C.

Moreover, this paper does not assume any solar forcing or solar amplification mechanisms. The integral of solar activity plus ocean oscillations explain ~95% of global temperature change over the past 400 years. Including potential solar forcing into the 'minimal model' could substantially reduce estimated climate sensitivity to CO2 to a much greater extent. 

Empirical estimates of climate sensitivity are highly uncertain.
Anthropogenic warming was estimated by signal decomposition.
Warming and forcing were equated in the time domain to obtain sensitivity.
Estimated sensitivity is 1.093 °C (transient) and 1.99 °C (equilibrium).
Empirical study sensitivity estimates fall below those based on GCMs [Global Circulation Models].

Abstract

Climate sensitivity summarizes the net effect of a change in forcing on Earth's surface temperature. Estimates based on energy balance calculations give generally lower values for sensitivity (< 2 °C per doubling of forcing) than those based on general circulation models, but utilize uncertain historical data and make various assumptions about forcings. A minimal model was used that has the fewest possible assumptions and the least data uncertainty. Using only the historical surface temperature record, the periodic temperature oscillations often associated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation were estimated and subtracted from the surface temperature data, leaving a linear warming trend identified as an anthropogenic signal. This estimated rate of warming was related to the fraction of a log CO2 doubling from 1959 to 2013 to give an estimated transient sensitivity of 1.093 °C (0.96–1.23 °C 95% confidence limits) and equilibrium climate sensitivity of 1.99 °C (1.75–2.23 °C). It is argued that higher estimates derived from climate models are incorrect because they disagree with empirical estimates.


1 comment:

  1. WUWT picked up this post, several excellent comments there:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/23/new-paper-finds-transient-climate-sensitivity-to-doubled-co2-levels-is-only-about-1c/

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