The relationship between peak warming and cumulative CO

April 2011
Tellus: Series B;Apr2011, Vol. 63 Issue 2, p145
Academic Journal
Interactions between the carbon cycle, climate and human societies are subject to several major vulnerabilities, broadly defined as factors contributing to the risk of harm from human-induced climate change. We assess five vulnerabilities: (1) effects of increasing CO on the partition of anthropogenic carbon between atmospheric, land and ocean reservoirs; (2) effects of climate change (quantified by temperature) on CO fluxes; (3) uncertainty in climate sensitivity; (4) non-CO radiative forcing and (5) anthropogenic CO emissions. Our analysis uses a physically based expression for , the peak warming associated with a cumulative anthropogenic CO emission to the time of peak warming. The approximations in this expression are evaluated using a non-linear box model of the carbon-climate system, forced with capped emissions trajectories described by an analytic form satisfying integral and smoothness constraints. The first four vulnerabilities appear as parameters that influence , whereas the last appears through the independent variable. In terms of likely implications for , the decreasing order of the first four vulnerabilities is: uncertainties in climate sensitivity, effects of non-CO radiative forcing, effects of climate change on CO fluxes and effects of increasing CO on the partition of anthropogenic carbon.


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