High End of Climate Sensitivity in New Climate Models Seen as Less Plausible

Wednesday, Mar 3, 2021

A recent analysis of the latest generation of climate models — known as a CMIP6 — provides a cautionary tale on interpreting climate simulations as scientists develop more sensitive and sophisticated projections of how the Earth will respond to increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The researchers, led by AOS Graduate Student Chenggong Wang, reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, that newer models with a high “climate sensitivity” — meaning they predict much greater global warming from the same levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide as other models — do not provide a plausible scenario of Earth’s future climate. CIMES Director Gabriel Vecchi, an AOS faculty member, is among the study's co-authors.

Additional authors on the paper include Brian Soden, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and Wenchang Yang, an associate research scholar in geosciences at Princeton.

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