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Bayesian analysis of Earth’s climate sensitivity: past, present and future


Project Description

Project Rationale:
The biggest cause of uncertainty in predicting the magnitude of future global warming, for a given pattern of CO2 emissions, lies in Earth’s ‘climate sensitivity’ (the increase in average surface temperature following a sustained doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide). Earth’s climate sensitivity is currently evaluated using many separate lines of evidence (Knutti et al., 2017), including palaeo-climate archives; complex climate models; observations of Earth’s energy imbalance and warming since the industrial revolution (e.g. see Goodwin, 2018); and from the observed climate responses to volcanic activity.

However, these different lines of evidence produce different estimates of climate sensitivity leading to large uncertainty in future warming. The disagreement in climate sensitivity estimates may arise because climate sensitivity evolves over different response timescales (Goodwin, 2018), for instance due to the ocean’s large heat capacity delaying the response to a change in greenhouse gas concentrations. Disagreements also arise because climate sensitivity may be dependent on the background state of the climate system (such that increased warming may itself increase the climate sensitivity and lead to additional warming).

Funding Notes

You can apply for fully-funded studentships (stipend and fees) from INSPIRE if you:
Are a UK or EU national.
Have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK.
Have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the project.

Please click View Website for more information on eligibilty and how to apply

References

Goodwin. P., A. Katavouta, V.M. Roussenov, G.L. Foster, E.J. Rohling and R.G. Williams, (2018a) Pathways to 1.5 and 2 °C warming based on observational and geological constraints, Nature Geoscience 11, 102-107, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-017-0054-8.

Goodwin, P. (2018). On the time evolution of climate sensitivity and future warming, Earth’s Future 6, EFT2466, 1336-1348. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EF000889.

Knutti, R., Rugenstein, M. A. A., & Hergerl, G. C. (2017). Beyond equilibrium climate sensitivity. Nature Geoscience, 10, 727–736. https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo3017.

How good is research at University of Southampton in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 68.62

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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