Carbon dioxide and climate impulse response functions for the computation of greenhouse gas metrics

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Author(s) Joos, Fortunat, Roth, Raphael, Fuglestvedt, Jan S., Peters, Glen P., Enting, Ian G., Bloh, Werner von, Brovkin, Victor A., Burke, Eleanor J., Eby, Michael, Edwards, Neil R., Friedrich, Tobias, Frölicher, Thomas L., Halloran, Paul R., Holden, Philip B., Jones, Chris D., Kleinen, Thomas, Mackenzie, Fred T., Matsumoto, Katsumi, Meinshausen, Malte, Plattner, Gian K., Reisinger, Andy, Segschneider, Joachim, Shaffer, Gary, Steinacher, Marco, Strassmann, Kuno M., Tanaka, Katsumasa, Timmermann, Axel, Weaver, Andrew J.
Publication Type Journal Items, Publication Status: Published
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Title Carbon dioxide and climate impulse response functions for the computation of greenhouse gas metrics
Subtitle A multi-model analysis
Author(s) Joos, Fortunat
Roth, Raphael
Fuglestvedt, Jan S.
Peters, Glen P.
Enting, Ian G.
Bloh, Werner von
Brovkin, Victor A.
Burke, Eleanor J.
Eby, Michael
Edwards, Neil R.
Friedrich, Tobias
Frölicher, Thomas L.
Halloran, Paul R.
Holden, Philip B.
Jones, Chris D.
Kleinen, Thomas
Mackenzie, Fred T.
Matsumoto, Katsumi
Meinshausen, Malte
Plattner, Gian K.
Reisinger, Andy
Segschneider, Joachim
Shaffer, Gary
Steinacher, Marco
Strassmann, Kuno M.
Tanaka, Katsumasa
Timmermann, Axel
Weaver, Andrew J.
Journal or Series Title Atmospheric chemistry and physics
Volume Number 12
Issue Number 8
Start Page 19799
End Page 19869
ISSN 1680-7375
Publisher Copernicus Publ.
Publication Place Göttingen
Publication Date 2012
Abstract The responses of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other climate variables to an emission pulse of CO2 into the atmosphere are often used to compute the Global Warming Potential (GWP) and Global Temperature change Potential (GTP), to characterize the response time scales of Earth System models, and to build reduced-form models. In this carbon cycle-climate model intercomparison project, which spans the full model hierarchy, we quantify responses to emission pulses of different magnitudes injected under different conditions. The CO2 response shows the known rapid decline in the first few decades followed by a millennium-scale tail. For a 100 Gt C emission pulse, 24 ± 10% is still found in the atmosphere after 1000 yr; the ocean has absorbed 60 ± 18% and the land the remainder. The response in global mean surface air temperature is an increase by 0.19 ± 0.10 °C within the first twenty years; thereafter and until year 1000, temperature decreases only slightly, whereas ocean heat content and sea level continue to rise. Our best estimate for the Absolute Global Warming Potential, given by the time-integrated response in CO2 at year 100 times its radiative efficiency, is 92.7 × 10−15 yr W m−2 per kg CO2. This value very likely (5 to 95% confidence) lies within the range of (70 to 115) × 10−15 yr W m−2 per kg CO2. Estimates for time-integrated response in CO2 published in the IPCC First, Second, and Fourth Assessment and our multi-model best estimate all agree within 15%. The integrated CO2 response is lower for pre-industrial conditions, compared to present day, and lower for smaller pulses than larger pulses. In contrast, the response in temperature, sea level and ocean heat content is less sensitive to these choices. Although, choices in pulse size, background concentration, and model lead to uncertainties, the most important and subjective choice to determine AGWP of CO2 and GWP is the time horizon.
DOI 10.5194/acpd-12-19799-2012
Additional Notes Received 24 July 2012, Accepted 25 July 2012, Published 9 August 2012
Document Type Article
Publication Status Published
Language English
Assigned Organisational Unit(s) 03777
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  author = "Joos, Fortunat and Roth, Raphael and Fuglestvedt, Jan S. and Peters, Glen P. and Enting, Ian G. and Bloh, Werner von and Brovkin, Victor A. and Burke, Eleanor J. and Eby, Michael and Edwards, Neil R. and Friedrich, Tobias and Fr{\"{o}}licher, Thomas L. and Halloran, Paul R. and Holden, Philip B. and Jones, Chris D. and Kleinen, Thomas and Mackenzie, Fred T. and Matsumoto, Katsumi and Meinshausen, Malte and Plattner, Gian K. and Reisinger, Andy and Segschneider, Joachim and Shaffer, Gary and Steinacher, Marco and Strassmann, Kuno M. and Tanaka, Katsumasa and Timmermann, Axel and Weaver, Andrew J.",
  title = "{C}arbon dioxide and climate impulse response functions for the computation of greenhouse gas metrics: {A} multi-model analysis",
  journal = "Atmospheric chemistry and physics",
  year = 2012,
  volume = "12",
  number = "8",
  pages = "19799--19869",

E-Citations record created: Fri, 30 Nov 2012, 13:48:56 CET