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Climate Sensitivity Estimated from Temperature Reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum


Fig. 1.b. Best-fitting model simulation
Fig. 1B. Annual mean surface temperature (SST over oceans and SAT over land) change between the LGM and modern, Best-fitting model simulation (ECS2xC = 2.4 K).
Climate Sensitivity Estimated from Temperature Reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum

Science
Vol. 334, No. 6061, pp. 1385-1388, 9 December 2011. DOI: 10.1126/science.1203513

1 Andreas Schmittner1, Nathan M. Urban2, Jeremy D. Shakun3, Natalie M. Mahowald4, Peter U. Clark5, Patrick J. Bartlein6, Alan C. Mix1, Antoni Rosell-Melé7
ABSTRACT:
Assessing impacts of future anthropogenic carbon emissions is currently impeded by uncertainties in our knowledge of equilibrium climate sensitivity to atmospheric carbon dioxide doubling. Previous studies suggest 3 K as best estimate, 2-4.5 K as the 66% probability range, and non-zero probabilities for much higher values, the latter implying a small but significant chance of high-impact climate changes that would be difficult to avoid. Here, combining extensive sea and land surface temperature reconstructions from the Last Glacial Maximum with climate model simulations, we estimate a lower median (2.3 K) and reduced uncertainty (1.7-2.6 K 66% probability). Assuming paleoclimatic constraints apply to the future as predicted by our model, these results imply lower probability of imminent extreme climatic change than previously thought.
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To read or view the full study, please visit the Science website.
Vol. 334, No. 6061, pp. 1385-1388, 9 December 2011. DOI: 10.1126/science.1203513
1 College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331–5503, USA
2 Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, NJ 08544, USA.
3 Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
4 Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
5 Department of Geosciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.
6 Department of Geography, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA
7 Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats and Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain.
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