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Nature. 2012 Nov 29;491(7426):683-91. doi: 10.1038/nature11574.

Making sense of palaeoclimate sensitivity.

Erratum in

  • Nature. 2013 Feb 7;494(7435):130. Masson-Demotte, V [corrected to Masson-Delmotte, V].


Many 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) m(2)) 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 CO(2), which agrees with IPCC estimates.

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