Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Global sea surface temperature data provides new measure of climate sensitivity over the last half million years

Date:
December 6, 2011
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
Scientists have developed important new insight into the sensitivity of global temperature to changes in Earth's radiation balance over the last half million years.

Scientists have developed important new insight into the sensitivity of global temperature to changes in Earth's radiation balance over the last half million years.

The sensitivity of global temperature to changes in Earth's radiation balance (climate sensitivity) is a key parameter for understanding past natural climate changes as well as potential future climate change.

In a study in Journal of Climate, researchers from the Universities of Southampton and Bristol for the first time reconstructed climate sensitivity over five ice-age cycles based on a global suite of records of sea surface and polar temperature change. These are compared with a new reconstruction of changes in Earth's radiation balance caused by changes in greenhouse gas concentrations, in surface reflectivity, and in insolation due to slow changes in the Earth-Sun orbital configuration. The study calculates global mean climate sensitivity, but ¬also considers its relationship with latitude. This is important because many of the past radiative changes were not equally distributed over the planet, in contrast to the more uniform distribution of the modern radiative changes due to rising greenhouse gas levels.

The researchers infer that Earth's climate sensitivity over the last half million years most likely amounted to a 3.1 to 3.9 °C temperature increase for the radiative equivalent of a modern doubling of atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations (with a total range of 1.7 to 5.7 °C).

Lead researcher Eelco Rohling, Professor of Ocean and Climate Change at the University of Southampton, says: "We use long time-series of data that are each obtained using a single method. This reduces uncertainty in the estimates of temperature change, relative to previous work that contrasts reconstructions of a single past climate state with modern instrumental data. Our method can be especially improved by extending the global network of long records."

He continues: "Because our climate sensitivity values are based on real-world data from a substantial interval of time in the recent geological past, our results provide strong observational support to the climate sensitivities used in IPCC-class climate models. If anything, our results suggest slightly stronger sensitivity."

Dr Mark Siddall, from the Department of Earth Science at the University of Bristol, adds: "This study shows the increasing importance of using geological data to understand the climate system and how it responds as a whole to changes in greenhouse gasses."

The current study, which is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), is based on marine results, but terrestrial information is also being sought in order to progress the study further. In addition, Professor Rohling is joint coordinator of the international Palaeosens effort that aims to establish a common approach for the reporting and comparison of climate sensitivity estimates from geological data, which started at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in March 2011.

Professor Rohling is presenting the findings at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco on Dec. 7.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "Global sea surface temperature data provides new measure of climate sensitivity over the last half million years." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111206082754.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2011, December 6). Global sea surface temperature data provides new measure of climate sensitivity over the last half million years. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111206082754.htm
University of Southampton. "Global sea surface temperature data provides new measure of climate sensitivity over the last half million years." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111206082754.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Egypt Denies Claims Oldest Pyramid Damaged in Restoration

Egypt Denies Claims Oldest Pyramid Damaged in Restoration

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) — Egypt's antiquities minister denied Tuesday claims that the Djoser pyramid, the country's first, had been damaged during restoration work by a company accused of being unqualified to do such work. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
King Richard III's Painful Cause Of Death Revealed

King Richard III's Painful Cause Of Death Revealed

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) — King Richard III died in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, and now researchers examining his skull think they know how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Museum Traces Fragments of Star-Spangled Banner

Museum Traces Fragments of Star-Spangled Banner

AP (Sep. 12, 2014) — As the Star-Spangled Banner celebrates its bicentennial, Smithsonian curators are still uncovering fragments of the original flag that inspired Francis Scott Key's poem. (Sept. 12) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins