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

Hubertus Fischer 1, 2 Katrin Meissner 3 Alan Mix 4 Nerilie Abram 5 Jacqueline Austermann 6 Victor Brovkin 7 Emilie Capron 8, 9 Daniel Colombaroli 2 Anne Daniau 10 Kelsey Dyez 11 Thomas Felis 12 Sarah Finkelstein 13 Samuel Jaccard 2 Erin Mcclymont 14 Alessio Rovere 12 Johannes Sutter 15 Eric Wolff 16 Stéphane Affolter 1, 2 Pepijn Bakker 12 Juan Antonio Ballesteros-Cánovas 17 Carlo Barbante 18 Thibaut Caley 19 Anders Carlson 4 Olga Churakova 17 Giuseppe Cortese 20 Brian Cumming 21 Basil Davis 22 Anne de Vernal 23 Julien Emile-Geay 24 Sherilyn Fritz 25 Paul Gierz 15 Julia Gottschalk 2 Max Holloway 8 Fortunat Joos 1, 2 Michal Kucera 26 Marie-France Loutre 27 Daniel Lunt 28 Katarzyna Marcisz 29, 2 Jennifer Marlon 30 Martin Martinez 10 Valérie Masson-Delmotte 31 Christoph Nehrbass-Ahles 1, 2 Bette Otto-Bliesner 32 Christoph Raible 1, 2 Bjørg Risebrobakken 33 María Sánchez Goñi 34 Jennifer Saleem Arrigo 35 Michael Sarnthein 36 Jesper Sjolte 37 Thomas Stocker 1, 2 Patricio Velasquez Alvárez 1, 2 Willy Tinner 2 Paul Valdes 28 Hendrik Vogel 38, 2 Heinz Wanner 39, 2 Qing Yan 40 Zicheng Yu 41 Martin Ziegler 42, 43 Liping Zhou 44
1 CEP - Climate and Environmental Physics [Bern]
Physikalisches Institut [Bern]
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 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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Hubertus Fischer, Katrin Meissner, Alan Mix, Nerilie Abram, Jacqueline Austermann, et al.. Palaeoclimate constraints on the impact of 2 °C anthropogenic warming and beyond. Nature Geoscience, Nature Publishing Group, 2018, 11 (7), pp.474 - 485. ⟨10.1038/s41561-018-0146-0⟩. ⟨cea-01883055⟩

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