Accounting for internal variability
NASA continues to study the extent of future warming in climate change scenarios, including Earth’s equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), or the eventual warming response to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Estimates of ECS based on recent observations are lower than model estimates, suggesting that model estimates may be wrong. However, when models are constrained with observed recent sea surface temperatures, their ECS estimates are also lower than the unconstrained model estimates. This suggests that the natural variability of the Earth system may be confounding estimates of ECS based on recent observations.
Data Sources: Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5)
Marvel, K., R. Pincus, G. A. Schmidt, and R. L. Miller, Internal Variability and Disequilibrium Confound Estimates of Climate Sensitivity from Observations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 45, 1595 – 1601, 2018
< Back to: A Year in Review