Climate Sensitivity Estimated from Temperature Reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum

Andreas Schmittner, Nathan M. Urban, Jeremy D. Shakun, Natalie M. Mahowald, Peter U Clark, Patrick J. Bartlein, Alan C. Mix, Antoni Rosell-Mele

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    148 Citations (Scopus)

    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.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages1385-1388
    JournalScience
    Volume334
    Issue number6061
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011

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    Last Glacial Maximum
    climate
    temperature
    climate change
    carbon emission
    land surface
    sea surface
    climate modeling
    surface temperature
    carbon dioxide
    simulation

    Cite this

    Schmittner, A., Urban, N. M., Shakun, J. D., Mahowald, N. M., Clark, P. U., Bartlein, P. J., ... Rosell-Mele, A. (2011). Climate Sensitivity Estimated from Temperature Reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum. 334(6061), 1385-1388. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1203513
    Schmittner, Andreas ; Urban, Nathan M. ; Shakun, Jeremy D. ; Mahowald, Natalie M. ; Clark, Peter U ; Bartlein, Patrick J. ; Mix, Alan C. ; Rosell-Mele, Antoni. / Climate Sensitivity Estimated from Temperature Reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum. 2011 ; Vol. 334, No. 6061. pp. 1385-1388.
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    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.",
    author = "Andreas Schmittner and Urban, {Nathan M.} and Shakun, {Jeremy D.} and Mahowald, {Natalie M.} and Clark, {Peter U} and Bartlein, {Patrick J.} and Mix, {Alan C.} and Antoni Rosell-Mele",
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    Schmittner, A, Urban, NM, Shakun, JD, Mahowald, NM, Clark, PU, Bartlein, PJ, Mix, AC & Rosell-Mele, A 2011, 'Climate Sensitivity Estimated from Temperature Reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum', vol. 334, no. 6061, pp. 1385-1388. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1203513

    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.; Rosell-Mele, Antoni.

    Vol. 334, No. 6061, 12.2011, p. 1385-1388.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    AB - 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.

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    Schmittner A, Urban NM, Shakun JD, Mahowald NM, Clark PU, Bartlein PJ et al. Climate Sensitivity Estimated from Temperature Reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum. 2011 Dec;334(6061):1385-1388. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1203513