Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions

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Author(s) Solomon, Susan, Plattner, Gian-Kasper, Knutti, Reto, Friedlingstein, Pierre
Publication Type Journal Items, Publication Status: Published
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Title Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions
Author(s) Solomon, Susan
Plattner, Gian-Kasper
Knutti, Reto
Friedlingstein, Pierre
Journal or Series Title Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume Number 106
Issue Number 6
Start Page 1704
End Page 1709
ISSN 0027-8424
Publisher National Academy of Sciences
Publication Place Washington, D.C.
Publication Date 2009
Keyword(s) dangerous interference
sea level rise
Abstract The severity of damaging human-induced climate change depends not only on the magnitude of the change but also on the potential for irreversibility. This paper shows that the climate change that takes place due to increases in carbon dioxide concentration is largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop. Following cessation of emissions, removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide decreases radiative forcing, but is largely compensated by slower loss of heat to the ocean, so that atmospheric temperatures do not drop significantly for at least 1,000 years. Among illustrative irreversible impacts that should be expected if atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increase from current levels near 385 parts per million by volume (ppmv) to a peak of 450-600 ppmv over the coming century are irreversible dry-season rainfall reductions in several regions comparable to those of the "dust bowl'' era and inexorable sea level rise. Thermal expansion of the warming ocean provides a conservative lower limit to irreversible global average sea level rise of at least 0.4-1.0 m if 21st century CO2 concentrations exceed 600 ppmv and 0.6-1.9 m for peak CO2 concentrations exceeding approximate to 1,000 ppmv. Additional contributions from glaciers and ice sheet contributions to future sea level rise are uncertain but may equal or exceed several meters over the next millennium or longer.
DOI 10.1073/pnas.0812721106
Additional Notes Received 12 November 2008, Published online 28 January 2009
Document Type Article
Publication Status Published
Language English
Assigned Organisational Unit(s) 03731
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NEBIS System Number 001003347
Source Database ID PP-52122
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  author = "Solomon, Susan and Plattner, Gian-Kasper and Knutti, Reto and Friedlingstein, Pierre",
  title = "{I}rreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions",
  journal = "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America",
  year = 2009,
  volume = "106",
  number = "6",
  pages = "1704--1709",

E-Citations record created: Wed, 23 Jun 2010, 21:09:40 CET