Continued global warming after CO2 emissions stoppage

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Author(s) Frölicher, Thomas Lukas, Winton, Michael, Sarmiento, Jorge Louis
Publication Type Journal Items, Publication Status: Published
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Title Continued global warming after CO2 emissions stoppage
Author(s) Frölicher, Thomas Lukas
Winton, Michael
Sarmiento, Jorge Louis
Journal or Series Title Nature Climate Change
Volume Number 4
Issue Number 1
Start Page 40
End Page 44
ISSN 1758-678X
Publisher Nature Publ. Group
Publication Place S.l.
Publication Date 2014-01-01
Abstract Recent studies have suggested that global mean surface temperature would remain approximately constant on multi-century timescales after CO2 emissions1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 are stopped. Here we use Earth system model simulations of such a stoppage to demonstrate that in some models, surface temperature may actually increase on multi-century timescales after an initial century-long decrease. This occurs in spite of a decline in radiative forcing that exceeds the decline in ocean heat uptake—a circumstance that would otherwise be expected to lead to a decline in global temperature. The reason is that the warming effect of decreasing ocean heat uptake together with feedback effects arising in response to the geographic structure of ocean heat uptake10, 11, 12 overcompensates the cooling effect of decreasing atmospheric CO2 on multi-century timescales. Our study also reveals that equilibrium climate sensitivity estimates based on a widely used method of regressing the Earth’s energy imbalance against surface temperature change13, 14 are biased. Uncertainty in the magnitude of the feedback effects associated with the magnitude and geographic distribution of ocean heat uptake therefore contributes substantially to the uncertainty in allowable carbon emissions for a given multi-century warming target.
DOI 10.1038/nclimate2060
Additional Notes Received 14 August 2013, Accepted 29 October 2013, Published online 24 November 2013
Document Type Article
Publication Status Published
Language English
Assigned Organisational Unit(s) 03731
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NEBIS System Number 006397317
Source Database ID SCOPUS-84890904709
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  author = "Fr{\"{o}}licher, Thomas Lukas and Winton, Michael and Sarmiento, Jorge Louis",
  title = "{C}ontinued global warming after {C}{O}2 emissions stoppage",
  journal = "Nature Climate Change",
  year = 2014,
  volume = "4",
  number = "1",
  pages = "40--44",
  month = jan,

E-Citations record created: Tue, 07 Jan 2014, 06:58:54 CET