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Palaeoclimate constraints on the impact of 2 °C anthropogenic warming and beyond

Fischer, Hubertus; Meissner, Katrin J.; Mix, Alan C.; Abram, Nerilie J.; Austermann, Jacqueline; Brovkin, Victor; Capron, Emilie; Colombaroli, Daniele; Daniau, Anne Laure and Dyez, Kelsey A., et al. (2018) In Nature Geoscience 11(7). p.474-485
Abstract

Over the past 3.5 million years, there have been several intervals when climate conditions were warmer than during the pre-industrial Holocene. Although past intervals of warming were forced differently than future anthropogenic change, such periods can provide insights into potential future climate impacts and ecosystem feedbacks, especially over centennial-to-millennial timescales that are often not covered by climate model simulations. Our observation-based synthesis of the understanding of past intervals with temperatures within the range of projected future warming suggests that there is a low risk of runaway greenhouse gas feedbacks for global warming of no more than 2 °C. However, substantial regional environmental impacts can... (More)

Over the past 3.5 million years, there have been several intervals when climate conditions were warmer than during the pre-industrial Holocene. Although past intervals of warming were forced differently than future anthropogenic change, such periods can provide insights into potential future climate impacts and ecosystem feedbacks, especially over centennial-to-millennial timescales that are often not covered by climate model simulations. Our observation-based synthesis of the understanding of past intervals with temperatures within the range of projected future warming suggests that there is a low risk of runaway greenhouse gas feedbacks for global warming of no more than 2 °C. However, substantial regional environmental impacts can occur. A global average warming of 1–2 °C with strong polar amplification has, in the past, been accompanied by significant shifts in climate zones and the spatial distribution of land and ocean ecosystems. Sustained warming at this level has also led to substantial reductions of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, with sea-level increases of at least several metres on millennial timescales. Comparison of palaeo observations with climate model results suggests that, due to the lack of certain feedback processes, model-based climate projections may underestimate long-term warming in response to future radiative forcing by as much as a factor of two, and thus may also underestimate centennial-to-millennial-scale sea-level rise.

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Nature Geoscience
volume
11
issue
7
pages
474 - 485
publisher
Nature Publishing Group
external identifiers
  • scopus:85048956902
ISSN
1752-0894
DOI
10.1038/s41561-018-0146-0
language
English
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yes
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9fbc1c3c-1e9a-48ca-b042-d59d24d2b622
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2018-07-04 14:37:14
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2019-09-17 04:35:20
@article{9fbc1c3c-1e9a-48ca-b042-d59d24d2b622,
  abstract     = {<p>Over the past 3.5 million years, there have been several intervals when climate conditions were warmer than during the pre-industrial Holocene. Although past intervals of warming were forced differently than future anthropogenic change, such periods can provide insights into potential future climate impacts and ecosystem feedbacks, especially over centennial-to-millennial timescales that are often not covered by climate model simulations. Our observation-based synthesis of the understanding of past intervals with temperatures within the range of projected future warming suggests that there is a low risk of runaway greenhouse gas feedbacks for global warming of no more than 2 °C. However, substantial regional environmental impacts can occur. A global average warming of 1–2 °C with strong polar amplification has, in the past, been accompanied by significant shifts in climate zones and the spatial distribution of land and ocean ecosystems. Sustained warming at this level has also led to substantial reductions of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, with sea-level increases of at least several metres on millennial timescales. Comparison of palaeo observations with climate model results suggests that, due to the lack of certain feedback processes, model-based climate projections may underestimate long-term warming in response to future radiative forcing by as much as a factor of two, and thus may also underestimate centennial-to-millennial-scale sea-level rise.</p>},
  author       = {Fischer, Hubertus and Meissner, Katrin J. and Mix, Alan C. and Abram, Nerilie J. and Austermann, Jacqueline and Brovkin, Victor and Capron, Emilie and Colombaroli, Daniele and Daniau, Anne Laure and Dyez, Kelsey A. and Felis, Thomas and Finkelstein, Sarah A. and Jaccard, Samuel L. and McClymont, Erin L. and Rovere, Alessio and Sutter, Johannes and Wolff, Eric W. and Affolter, Stéphane and Bakker, Pepijn and Ballesteros-Cánovas, Juan Antonio and Barbante, Carlo and Caley, Thibaut and Carlson, Anders E. and Churakova (Sidorova), Olga and Cortese, Giuseppe and Cumming, Brian F. and Davis, Basil A.S. and de Vernal, Anne and Emile-Geay, Julien and Fritz, Sherilyn C. and Gierz, Paul and Gottschalk, Julia and Holloway, Max D. and Joos, Fortunat and Kucera, Michal and Loutre, Marie France and Lunt, Daniel J. and Marcisz, Katarzyna and Marlon, Jennifer R. and Martinez, Philippe and Masson-Delmotte, Valerie and Nehrbass-Ahles, Christoph and Otto-Bliesner, Bette L. and Raible, Christoph C. and Risebrobakken, Bjørg and Sánchez Goñi, María F. and Arrigo, Jennifer Saleem and Sarnthein, Michael and Sjolte, Jesper and Stocker, Thomas F. and Yan, Qing  and Yu, Zicheng and Ziegler, Martin  and Zhou, Liping},
  issn         = {1752-0894},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {7},
  pages        = {474--485},
  publisher    = {Nature Publishing Group},
  series       = {Nature Geoscience},
  title        = {Palaeoclimate constraints on the impact of 2 °C anthropogenic warming and beyond},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41561-018-0146-0},
  volume       = {11},
  year         = {2018},
}