Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New approach to support future climate projections

Date:
November 28, 2012
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
Scientists have developed a new approach for evaluating past climate sensitivity data to help improve comparison with estimates of long-term climate projections developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The sensitivity of global temperature to changes in the Earth's radiation balance (climate sensitivity) is a key factor for understanding past natural climate changes as well as potential future climate change.

Scientists have developed a new approach for evaluating past climate sensitivity data to help improve comparison with estimates of long-term climate projections developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

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

Many palaeoclimate studies have measured natural climate changes to calculate climate sensitivity, but a lack of consistent methodologies produced a wide range of estimates as to the exact value of climate sensitivity, which hindered results.

Now a team of international scientists including Eelco Rohling, Professor of Ocean and Climate Change at the University of Southampton, have developed a more consistent definition of climate sensitivity in prehistoric times. When the scientists evaluated previously published estimates for climate sensitivity from a variety of geological episodes over the past 65 million years, they found that the estimates varied over a very wide range of values, with some very high values among them (high values would imply a very strong temperature response to a change in radiative forcing, for example, due to CO2 increase).

The team discovered that this wide range was almost entirely due to the fact that different researchers used different definitions.

Professor Rohling, who is currently based at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton but will join the Australian National University next year, says: "Consistent intercomparison is a top priority, because it is central to using past climate sensitivity estimates in assessing the credibility of future climate projections.

"Once we had developed the framework and we had elaborated all the different assumptions and uncertainties, we applied it to climate reconstruction data from the last 65 million years. This caused a much narrower range of estimates, and this range was now defined in such a way that we could directly compare it with estimates in the IPCC assessment for their longer-term (several centuries) outlook."

The scientists found that the likely range of climate sensitivity consistently has been of the order of 2.2 to 4.8 degrees C per doubling of CO2, which closely agrees with the IPCC estimates.

Professor Rohling adds: "Our study only documents what the climate sensitivity has been over the last 65 million years, and how realistic the estimates of the IPCC are in that context. It finds that those estimates are fully coherent with what nature has done in the (natural) past before human-based effects. Hence, it strongly endorses the IPCC's long-term climate projections based on such values: nature shows us it always has, and so likely will again, respond in a way close to what the models suggest, as far as warming is concerned."

The research stems from a three-day Academy Colloquium attended by about 40 internationally renowned specialists in past and present climate studies, held at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam last year.

The findings are published in the latest edition of the journal Nature.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. E. J. Rohling, E. J. Rohling, A. Sluijs, H. A. Dijkstra, P. K๖hler, R. S. W. van de Wal, A. S. von der Heydt, D. J. Beerling, A. Berger, P. K. Bijl, M. Crucifix, R. DeConto, S. S. Drijfhout, A. Fedorov, G. L. Foster, A. Ganopolski, J. Hansen, B. H๖nisch, H. Hooghiemstra, M. Huber, P. Huybers, R. Knutti, D. W. Lea, L. J. Lourens, D. Lunt, V. Masson-Demotte, M. Medina-Elizalde, B. Otto-Bliesner, M. Pagani, H. Pไlike, H. Renssen, D. L. Royer, M. Siddall, P. Valdes, J. C. Zachos, R. E. Zeebe. Making sense of palaeoclimate sensitivity. Nature, 2012; 491 (7426): 683 DOI: 10.1038/nature11574

Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "New approach to support future climate projections." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121128132112.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2012, November 28). New approach to support future climate projections. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121128132112.htm
University of Southampton. "New approach to support future climate projections." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121128132112.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Balloon Descends to Bottom of Croatian Cave

Raw: Balloon Descends to Bottom of Croatian Cave

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — An Austrian balloon pilot has succeeded in taking a balloon deep underground, a feat which he believes is a world first. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bodies Recovered from Japan Volcano Eruption

Bodies Recovered from Japan Volcano Eruption

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Rescue crews finished recovering the remaining 27 bodies from atop Japan's Mount Ontake Monday. At least 31 people were killed Saturday in the mountain's first fatal volcanic event in modern history. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Japan's Mount Ontake Erupts

Raw: Japan's Mount Ontake Erupts

AP (Sep. 27, 2014) — A volcano erupted in central Japan on Saturday, sending a large plume of ash high into the sky and prompting a warning to climbers and others to avoid the area. (Sept. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) — Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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