Constraining the Ratio of Global Warming to Cumulative CO2 Emissions Using CMIP5 Simulations*

Gillett, Nathan P.; Arora, Vivek K.; Matthews, Damon; Allen, Myles R.
September 2013
Journal of Climate;Sep2013, Vol. 26 Issue 18, p6844
Academic Journal
The ratio of warming to cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide has been shown to be approximately independent of time and emissions scenarios and directly relates emissions to temperature. It is therefore a potentially important tool for climate mitigation policy. The transient climate response to cumulative carbon emissions (TCRE), defined as the ratio of global-mean warming to cumulative emissions at CO2 doubling in a 1% yr−1 CO2 increase experiment, ranges from 0.8 to 2.4 K EgC−1 in 15 models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5)-a somewhat broader range than that found in a previous generation of carbon-climate models. Using newly available simulations and a new observational temperature dataset to 2010, TCRE is estimated from observations by dividing an observationally constrained estimate of CO2-attributable warming by an estimate of cumulative carbon emissions to date, yielding an observationally constrained 5%-95% range of 0.7-2.0 K EgC−1.


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