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Making Sense of Palaeoclimate SensitivityMany palaeoclimate studies have quantified pre-anthropogenic climate change to calculate climate sensitivity (equilibrium temperature change in response to radiative forcing change), but a lack of consistent methodologies produces a wide range of estimates and hinders comparability of results. Here we present a stricter approach, to improve intercomparison of palaeoclimate sensitivity estimates in a manner compatible with equilibrium projections for future climate change. Over the past 65 million years, this reveals a climate sensitivity (in K W−1 m2) of 0.3-1.9 or 0.6-1.3 at 95% or 68% probability, respectively. The latter implies a warming of 2.2-4.8 K per doubling of atmospheric CO2, which agrees with IPCC estimates.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Rohling, E. J. (Southampton Univ. United Kingdom)
Sluijs, A. (Utrecht Univ. Utrecht, Netherlands)
DeConto, R. (Massachusetts Univ. Amherst, MA, United States)
Drijfhout, S. S. (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Inst. De Bilt, Netherlands)
Fedorov, A. (Yale Univ. New Haven, CT, United States)
Foster, G. L. (Southampton Univ. United Kingdom)
Ganopolski, A. (Potsdam-Inst. fuer Klimafolgenforschung Potsdam, Germany)
Hansen, J. (NASA Goddard Inst. for Space Studies New York, NY, United States)
Honisch, B. (Columbia Univ. Palisades, NY, United States)
Hooghiemstra, H. (Amsterdam Univ. Netherlands)
Huber, M. (Purdue Univ. West Lafayette, IN, United States)
Huybers, P. (Harvard Univ. Cambridge, MA, United States)
Dijkstra, H. A. (Utrecht Univ. Utrecht, Netherlands)
Knutti, R. (Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule Zurich, Switzerland)
Lea, D. W. (California Univ. Santa Barbara, CA, United States)
Lourens, L. J. (Utrecht Univ. Utrecht, Netherlands)
Lunt, D. (Bristol Univ. United Kingdom)
Masson-Delmotte, V. (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Gif-sur-Yvette, France)
Medina-Elizalde, M. (Centro de Investigacion Cientifica de Yucatan Merida, Mexico)
Otto-Bliesner, B. (National Center for Atmospheric Research Boulder, CO, United States)
Pagani, M. (Yale Univ. New Haven, CT, United States)
Palike, H. (Southampton Univ. United Kingdom)
Renssen, H. (Vrije Univ. Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Koehler, P. (Alfred-Wegener-Inst. for Polar and Marine Research Bremerhaven, Germany)
Royer, D. L. (Wesleyan Univ. Middletown, CT, United States)
Siddall, M. (Bristol Univ. United Kingdom)
Valdes, P. (Bristol Univ. United Kingdom)
Zachos, J. C. (California Univ. Santa Cruz, CA, United States)
Zeebe, R. E. (Hawaii Univ. Honolulu, HI, United States)
vandeWal, R. S. W. (Utrecht Univ. Utrecht, Netherlands)
vonderHeydt, A. S. (Utrecht Univ. Utrecht, Netherlands)
Beerling, D. J. (Sheffield Univ. United Kingdom)
Berger, A. (Universite Catholique de Louvain Belgium)
Bijl, P. K. (Utrecht Univ. Utrecht, Netherlands)
Crucifix, M. (Universite Catholique de Louvain Belgium)
Date Acquired
March 5, 2014
Publication Date
November 29, 2012
Publication Information
Publication: Nature
Volume: 491
Subject Category
Meteorology and Climatology
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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