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Climate Sensitivity Estimated from Temperature Reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum

Schmittner, Andreas, Urban, Nathan M., Shakun, Jeremy D., Mahowald, Natalie M., Clark, Peter U, Bartlein, Patrick J., Mix, Alan C. and Rosell-Mele, Antoni (2011) Climate Sensitivity Estimated from Temperature Reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum. SCIENCE, 334 (6061). pp. 1385-1388. [Journal article]

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DOI: 10.1126/science.1203513

Abstract

Assessing the impact 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 kelvin (K) as the best estimate, 2 to 4.5 K as the 66% probability range, and nonzero probabilities for much higher values, the latter implying a small 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 to 2.6 K as the 66% probability range, which can be widened using alternate assumptions or data subsets). Assuming that paleoclimatic constraints apply to the future, as predicted by our model, these results imply a lower probability of imminent extreme climatic change than previously thought.

Item Type:Journal article
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Geography and Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Environmental Sciences Research Institute > Quaternary Environmental Change
Environmental Sciences Research Institute
ID Code:27118
Deposited By: Mrs Linda Allen
Deposited On:29 Sep 2013 08:24
Last Modified:29 Sep 2013 08:24

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