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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 7, issue 1
Earth Syst. Dynam., 7, 51–70, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-7-51-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Earth Syst. Dynam., 7, 51–70, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-7-51-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 29 Jan 2016

Research article | 29 Jan 2016

Global warming projections derived from an observation-based minimal model

K. Rypdal K. Rypdal
  • Department of Mathematics and Statistics, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway

Abstract. A simple conceptual model for the global mean surface temperature (GMST) response to CO2 emissions is presented and analysed. It consists of linear long-memory models for the GMST anomaly response ΔT to radiative forcing and the atmospheric CO2-concentration response ΔC to emission rate. The responses are connected by the standard logarithmic relation between CO2 concentration and its radiative forcing. The model depends on two sensitivity parameters, αT and αC, and two "inertia parameters," the memory exponents βT and βC. Based on observation data, and constrained by results from the Climate Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5), the likely values and range of these parameters are estimated, and projections of future warming for the parameters in this range are computed for various idealised, but instructive, emission scenarios. It is concluded that delays in the initiation of an effective global emission reduction regime is the single most important factor that influences the magnitude of global warming over the next 2 centuries. The most important aspect of this study is the simplicity and transparency of the conceptual model, which makes it a useful tool for communicating the issue to non-climatologists, students, policy makers, and the general public.

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A conceptual model for the global temperature response to CO2 emissions is presented. Based on observation data, projections of future warming are computed for instructive emission scenarios. Delays in the initiation of global emission reduction is found to be the most important factor driving global warming over the next 2 centuries. The model is intended as a tool for communicating the issue to non-climatologists, students, policy makers, and the general public.
A conceptual model for the global temperature response to CO2 emissions is presented. Based on...
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