Making sense of palaeoclimate sensitivity

EJ Rohling, A Sluijs, H.A Dijkstra, P Kohler, RSW van de Wal, A.S Von Der Heydt, DJ Beerling, A Berger, P.K Bijl, M Crucifix, R DeConto, S. Drijfhout, A Fedorov, Gavin L Foster, A Gonopolski, J Hansen, H Honisch, H Hooghiemstra, M Huber, P HuybersD Knutti, DW Lea, L Lourens, Dan J Lunt, V Masson-Demotte, M Medina-Elizalde, BL Otto-Bliesner, M Pagani, H Palike, D.L Renssen, M Royer, Mark Siddall, Paul J Valdes, JC Zachos, R. Zeebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

176 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many palaeoclimate studies have quantified pre-anthropogenic climate change to calculate climate sensitivity (equilibrium temperature change in response to radiative forcing change), but a lack of consistent methodologies produces a wide range of estimates and hinders comparability of results. Here we present a stricter approach, to improve intercomparison of palaeoclimate sensitivity estimates in a manner compatible with equilibrium projections for future climate change. Over the past 65 million years, this reveals a climate sensitivity (in K W−1 m2) of 0.3–1.9 or 0.6–1.3 at 95% or 68% probability, respectively. The latter implies a warming of 2.2–4.8 K per doubling of atmospheric CO2, which agrees with IPCC estimates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-691
JournalNature
Volume491
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2012

Structured keywords

  • WUNclimate

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