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Earth Syst. Dynam., 9, 879-894, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-9-879-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
21 Jun 2018
Climate sensitivity estimates – sensitivity to radiative forcing time series and observational data
Ragnhild Bieltvedt Skeie1, Terje Berntsen1,2, Magne Aldrin3, Marit Holden3, and Gunnar Myhre1 1CICERO-Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo, P.O. Box 1129 Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway
2Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1047 Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway
3Norwegian Computing Center, P.O. Box 114 Blindern, 0314 Oslo, Norway
Abstract. Inferred effective climate sensitivity (ECSinf) is estimated using a method combining radiative forcing (RF) time series and several series of observed ocean heat content (OHC) and near-surface temperature change in a Bayesian framework using a simple energy balance model and a stochastic model. The model is updated compared to our previous analysis by using recent forcing estimates from IPCC, including OHC data for the deep ocean, and extending the time series to 2014. In our main analysis, the mean value of the estimated ECSinf is 2.0 °C, with a median value of 1.9 °C and a 90 % credible interval (CI) of 1.2–3.1 °C. The mean estimate has recently been shown to be consistent with the higher values for the equilibrium climate sensitivity estimated by climate models. The transient climate response (TCR) is estimated to have a mean value of 1.4 °C (90 % CI 0.9–2.0 °C), and in our main analysis the posterior aerosol effective radiative forcing is similar to the range provided by the IPCC. We show a strong sensitivity of the estimated ECSinf to the choice of a priori RF time series, excluding pre-1950 data and the treatment of OHC data. Sensitivity analysis performed by merging the upper (0–700 m) and the deep-ocean OHC or using only one OHC dataset (instead of four in the main analysis) both give an enhancement of the mean ECSinf by about 50 % from our best estimate.
Citation: Skeie, R. B., Berntsen, T., Aldrin, M., Holden, M., and Myhre, G.: Climate sensitivity estimates – sensitivity to radiative forcing time series and observational data, Earth Syst. Dynam., 9, 879-894, https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-9-879-2018, 2018.
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Short summary
A key question in climate science is how the global mean surface temperature responds to changes in greenhouse gases. This dependency is quantified by the climate sensitivity, which is determined by the complex feedbacks in the climate system. In this study observations of past climate change are used to estimate this sensitivity. Our estimate is consistent with values for the equilibrium climate sensitivity estimated by complex climate models but sensitive to the use of uncertain input data.
A key question in climate science is how the global mean surface temperature responds to changes...
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