Thursday, November 10, 2011

Missing News: lower climate sensitivity

WUWT reports on a paper reportedly "in press*" in the journal Science that finds climate sensitivity to increased CO2 is less than previously thought. Seems those predictions about extreme events our climate commission is so fond of may require some re-thinking. Let's see how long it takes for the ABC to cover this important result.

Schmittner, A., et al., 2011. Climate sensitivity estimated from temperature reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum, Science, in press*,

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.

*According to the authors

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