Recent climate research in the news

A research paper published in Nature Geoscience (Otto et al, 2013) led to a fair amount of media coverage yesterday, including articles in the Guardian, BBC and an opinion piece by Matt Ridley in The Times (this article is behind a pay wall).

The research paper looked at a ‘best estimate’ of the warming expected when the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere is doubled over pre-industrial levels (known as the Transient Climate Response).

Alexander Otto, Research Fellow in Climate Decisions at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, was the lead author of the research.

He has written an article discussing the science and the implications of the research which can be seen on the Research News pages on our website.

Here is a short extract from Alexander Otto’s article :

“We published a paper in Nature Geoscience on Sunday giving a new best-estimate of 1.3°C for the Transient Climate Response, or the warming expected at the time carbon dioxide reaches double its pre-industrial concentration, using data from the most recent climate observations.

This best-estimate is lower than the HadGEM2 [one of the Met Office climate models] TCR value of 2.5°C and it is also 30% lower than the multi-model average of 1.8°C of the CMIP5 models used in the current IPCC assessment. Does this mean that the Met Office’s advice to government is based on a flawed model? Certainly not.

It is well acknowledged by all that the HadGEM2 model is at the top end of the range of TCR values in CMIP5, but we need a diverse range of TCR values to represent the uncertainties in our understanding of climate system processes. And the Met Office’s advice to government, like any solid policy advice, is based on the range of results from different models, not just their own.

The ‘warming pause’ over the recent decade does not show that climate change is not happening. And it certainly does not mean that climate scientists are “backing away” from our fundamental understanding.

Every new decade of data brings new information that helps reduce uncertainties in climate forecasts. In some ways, the picture changes surprisingly slowly for such an intensely scrutinised problem… This study highlights the importance of continued careful monitoring of the climate system, and also the dangers of over-interpreting any single decade’s worth of data.”

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3 Responses to Recent climate research in the news

  1. nuwurld says:

    Sorry Met, I’m afraid there is no credible warming of this planet. After which the human contribution becomes a nonsense. All these models are wrong. They ‘confirm’ the ‘false’ physics and ‘false’ sensitivities that have been programmed in. They prove nothing, except a faith.

    Prove to me that it is mathematically sensible to take an ‘arithmetic mean’ of a function that ‘radiates’ to the fourth power and prove to me then that you can prove whilst upholding ‘Holders inequality’ that a redistribution of temperatures doesn’t introduce an error in the calculated effective mean radiative temperature. You don’t even know what Earth’s effective mean radiative temperature is. ‘Greenhouse gas theory’ will be proven through time to be the biggest hoax the world has ever known. Now that things are cooling you have limited time.

    Less than 20 years of undesputed warming in the past 70 years, whilst ever increasing CO2. If the coming cooling wasn’t going to cost lives, I would say you were having a laugh.

  2. clivebest says:

    Alexander Otto writes in his long article:

    “First, I would always argue that for all practical, policy-relevant questions it is the transient climate response we should be interested in, but historically and academically the equilibrium response is still of high interest, so does our study tell us anything new about ECS?”

    Why does he say TCR is more important for policy? I thought the argument went that whatever action we may take in the short term to stabilise CO2 leve “climate inertia”( in the oceans) will reach ECS a few decades later.

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