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Climate Hustle

Explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation

Scientific skepticism is healthy. Scientists should always challenge themselves to improve their understanding. Yet this isn't what happens with climate change denial. Skeptics vigorously criticise any evidence that supports man-made global warming and yet embrace any argument, op-ed, blog or study that purports to refute global warming. This website gets skeptical about global warming skepticism. Do their arguments have any scientific basis? What does the peer reviewed scientific literature say?


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #28

Posted on 15 July 2018 by John Hartz

SkS Highlights... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... SkS Spotlights... Video of the Week... Reports of Note... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

SkS Highlights 

Vote For Earth - Jeff Berardelli

The successful #MetsUnite Climate Change initiative organised by Jeff Berardelli raised $1,000 for charity! The funds were raised through royalties from the items displayed on TV and on social media around June 21st.

Now it’s time to decide who gets the money and Skeptical Science is one of four not for profit climate change awareness and education entities in the running.

If you'd like to help us get $1,000, please visit and vote for Skeptical Science before voting ends on July 20!



2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28

Posted on 14 July 2018 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Heat Records Falling Around the World in 2018

World Temp Records 

Above:  A sampling of all-time high temperatures reported around the world in 2018 thus far, rounded to the nearest degree Fahrenheit. Most of these were set in late June and early July (see details below). The reading of 51.3°C (124.3°F) at Ouargla, Algeria, is the highest reliably measured temperature on record for Africa. Background image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

The first five months of 2018 were the fourth warmest in global records going back to 1880, according to NOAA. Along the way, a number of extreme heat events have occurred already this year. In recent weeks across the Northern Hemisphere, these records have included an impressive number of all-time highs (an all-time high is the warmest temperature reported on any date at a given location).

Setting an all-time high is no small accomplishment, especially for locations that have long periods of record (PORs). All-time highs are especially noteworthy when you consider that, on average, the planet is warming more during winter than during summer, and more at night than during the day. Urban heat islands are no doubt contributing somewhat to the heat records achieved in large urban areas, but the extreme heat of 2018 has also played out in remote rural areas without any urban heat islands.

As of July 13, the U.S. Records summary page maintained by NOAA showed that 18 U.S. locations had set or tied all-time highs so far this year, as opposed to 10 locations that set or tied all-time lows. There is an even sharper contrast between the number of all-time warm daily lows (40) and all-time cool daily highs (5), which has been a common pattern in recent years.

Here is a summary of some of the more significant heat-related events of the year-to-date around the world, in chronological order. Note that in some cases, extremely high temperatures recorded in the early 20th century are not considered reliable because of instrument placement and/or observing practices (as was the case with the infamous and ultimately disqualified El Azizi world heat record). All of the all-time highs shown below are valid for the climatological records that are considered reliable at a given location. All records are shown in the units used locally, followed by conversions to Celsius or Fahrenheit. (The United States is the only major country on Earth that does not primarly use the metric system.) 

Heat Records Falling Around the World in 2018 by Christopher C Burt, Category 6, Weather Underground, July 13, 2018



Land uplift ‘could prevent’ collapse of West Antarctic ice sheet

Posted on 13 July 2018 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Carbon Brief by Daisy Dunne

The rapid rise of bedrock beneath one of the fastest melting regions of the West Antarctic ice sheet could help prevent it collapsing, new research suggests.

The natural uplift of the ground in response to melting of ice could help stabilise the ice sheet by “literally pin[ning] the ice to the rock”, the lead author tells Carbon Brief.

However, the rising ground may also have “hidden” the true amount of ice loss from the area by around 10%, the results show.

In addition, if little is done to tackle future climate change and the rate of Antarctic ice melt continues to rise, the uplift of the land “will be useless” to stop the ice sheet from eventual collapse, the author adds.



Rising ocean waters from global warming could cost trillions of dollars

Posted on 12 July 2018 by John Abraham

Ocean waters are rising because of global warming. They are rising for two reasons. First, and perhaps most obvious, ice is melting. There is a tremendous amount of ice locked away in Greenland, Antarctica, and in glaciers. As the world warms, that ice melts and the liquid water flows to the oceans.

The other reason why water is rising is that warmer water is less dense – it expands. This expansion causes the surface of the water to rise.


Rising oceans are a big deal. About 150 million people live within 1 meter (3 feet) of sea level. About 600 million live within 10 meters (33 feet) of sea level. As waters rise, these people will have to go somewhere. It is inevitable that climate refugees will have to move their homes and workplaces because of rising waters. 



Book Review: A Global Warming Primer, by Jeffrey Bennett

Posted on 11 July 2018 by David Kirtley, Daniel Bailey

Our knowledge of how and why the climate is changing comes from many different scientific fields, ranging from the physics of how greenhouse gases interact with infrared radiation, to the chemistry and biology of how carbon dioxide cycles between lifeforms, rocks and ocean waters, to the geology of volcanoes and Earth's past ice ages. Even astronomy comes into play because of slow changes in the Earth's orbit and tilt which can cause the climate to change. All of this (and much, much more) may be intimidating to some folks, and the topic can be even more off-putting when you add in the political "debate" surrounding global warming.

Global Warming Primer coverWhat to do? One approach is to give folks just enough information about the science to give them a clear understanding of climate change. Jeffrey Bennett's latest book, A Global Warming Primer, does just that. Dr. Bennett has written science books for every age group, from children's books to college textbooks. His new primer is written for anyone who wants to learn about the basic facts of global warming. The goal is to give readers a "big picture" overview of the science without getting bogged down by endless details.

Bennett achieves his goal using a helpful Q&A format, which supplements his main text, throughout the book. An expanded "Detailed Table of Contents" lists all of these questions, making it easy for readers to simply look for answers to their own similar questions. This style makes the book feel "more like a personal discussion", just as Bennett intended. This format, in some ways, mirrors Skeptical Science's taxonomy of climate myths and rebuttals.

Another useful format choice is his use of two different font sizes to denote two different levels of complexity in his descriptions of the science. The larger ("normal") font is "for general text...and the big picture ideas that should be of interest to all readers". Bennett uses smaller font for more detailed discussion of the science. If readers want to just focus on the "big picture" overview they can skip over the small font sections as they read along.

Text size example
Image of sample page (p. 26) showing different fonts, and Q&A formats



Ocean Temperature - Part 1

Posted on 10 July 2018 by Irek Zawadzki

How have we measured the temperature of the ocean’s upper layer in the last 150 years? How does understanding physical processes and observational errors help to standardise climate data and understand climate change?

Why do we measure ocean temperature?

Convective clouds over Western Pacific

Figure 1: Convective clouds over the Western Pacific. Source: NOAA.

In the tropical atmosphere, tall clouds such as those shown in Figure 1 are governed by sea surface temperature, and one of the surprising hypotheses of climate change (known as the Thermostat Hypothesis) states that they, in turn, limit the maximum temperatures above the ocean by reflecting sunlight. These kinds of feedback loops between ocean temperature and other meteorological and oceanographic features, such as clouds, atmospheric circulation, ocean currents, and precipitation, are the reason why measuring sea surface temperature is an important element of today’s climate-change debate.

Sea surface temperature (SST) is also one of the climate indices with the longest histories of direct measurements. Because ocean makes up about 70% of the total Earth’s surface, changes in the temperature of its surface are a key factor for determining the global temperature of the planet’s surface.

Global changes in sea surface temperature

Figure 2: Global changes in sea surface temperature based on two different climate databases, which only use temperature measurements above the ocean. The data are expressed as deviations from the 1961–1990 average. Source: Jones, 2016.

Global se-surface temperature distribution

Figure 3: Global sea-surface temperature distribution on 13 December 2010 (La Niña) and on 3 December 2015 (El Niño). The data are based on the measurements using the following instruments: Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR), Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), and Terra and Aqua and Advanced Microwave Spectroradiometer-EOS (AMSR-E). Source: PODAAC.



There are genuine climate alarmists, but they're not in the same league as deniers

Posted on 9 July 2018 by dana1981

Those who debunk climate change misinformation often face a dilemma. We’re flooded with such a constant deluge of climate myths, where should we focus our efforts? Climate misinformation is propagated via congressional climate hearings, conservative media outlets, denial blogs, and even from some genuine climate alarmists. 

Specifically, there has recently been a debate as to whether Skeptical Science– a website with a database of climate myths and scientific debunkings, to which I’m a primary contributor – would be more useful and effective if it called out misinformation from ‘alarmists,’ and if it eliminated or revised its Climate Misinformers page.

Richard Betts@richardabetts

I describe the SkS lists as political because their 'misinformer' lists don't include those on the 'climate action' side who actively deny science & espouse conspiracy ideation

There is some validity to these critiques, and in response, Skeptical Science is renaming the page ‘Climate misinformation by source.’ But the site is run entirely by a team of international volunteers, and as such, opportunity costs must be considered. Time devoted to refuting alarmists is time not devoted to debunking the constant deluge of climate denial.



2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #27

Posted on 8 July 2018 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

Global warming may be twice what climate models predict


Sunset. Credit: Patrik Linderstam, Unsplash

Future global warming may eventually be twice as warm as projected by climate models and sea levels may rise six metres or more even if the world meets the 2°C target, according to an international team of researchers from 17 countries.

The findings published last week in Nature Geoscience are based on observational evidence from three warm periods over the past 3.5 million years when the world was 0.5°C-2°C warmer than the pre-industrial temperatures of the 19th Century.

The research also revealed how large areas of the polar ice caps could collapse and significant changes to ecosystems could see the Sahara Desert become green and the edges of tropical forests turn into fire dominated savanna.

“Observations of past warming periods suggest that a number of amplifying mechanisms, which are poorly represented in climate models, increase long-term warming beyond climate model projections,” said lead author, Prof Hubertus Fischer of the University of Bern.

“This suggests the carbon budget to avoid 2°C of global warming may be far smaller than estimated, leaving very little margin for error to meet the Paris targets.” 

Global warming may be twice what climate models predict, Newsroom, UNSW Sydney, July 5, 2018 



2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #27

Posted on 7 July 2018 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Climate change will get a whole lot worse before it gets better, according to game theory

Wildfire San Andreas CA 

It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets any better. According to new research published in Nature, humanity will witness marked sea level rises and frequent killer heatwaves before governments take decisive action against climate change. And to predict the future, mathematicians have turned to game theory.

The paper, published by a team of mathematicians, uses game theory to explain why it is so hard to protect the environment, updating it so they could model the effects of climate change, overuse of precious resources and pollution of pristine environments.

The bad news is that the model suggests that, when it comes to climate change, things might have to get demonstrably worse before they can get better. The good news, on the other hand, is that game theory could help policymakers to craft new and better incentives to help nations cooperate in international agreements.

Climate change will get a whole lot worse before it gets better, according to game theory by Roger Highfield, Wired UK, July 6, 2018



New research, June 25 - July 1, 2018

Posted on 6 July 2018 by Ari Jokimäki

A selection of new climate related research articles is shown below.

Climate change impacts


Quantifying transnational climate impact exposure: New perspectives on the global distribution of climate risk

The effects of increasing surface reflectivity on heat-related mortality in Greater Montreal Area, Canada

Synthesis and Review: an inter-method comparison of climate change impacts on agriculture (open access)

Future warming increases probability of globally synchronized maize production shocks

Satellite sun‐induced chlorophyll fluorescence detects early response of winter wheat to heat stress in the Indian Indo‐Gangetic Plains

Statistical modelling of crop yield in Central Europe using climate data and remote sensing vegetation indices

Comparison of climatic impacts transmission from temperature to grain harvests and economies between the Han (206 BC–AD 220) and Tang (AD 618–907) dynasties

The effects of tactical message inserts on risk communication with fish farmers in Northern Thailand

Spatial assessment of maize physical drought vulnerability in sub-Saharan Africa: Linking drought exposure with crop failure (open access)

Rescaling drought mitigation in rural Sri Lanka

A stakeholder-based assessment of barriers to climate change adaptation in a water-scarce basin in Spain (open access)

Climate change adaptation: Linking indigenous knowledge with western science for effective adaptation



10th run of Denial101x starts on July 10!

Posted on 5 July 2018 by BaerbelW

The next iteration of our free online course, Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, starts on July 10 and it will be the 10th run since the very first one in April 2015. Since then, more than 35,000 students from over 180 countries have registered for our MOOC which has been running either as a 7 weeks long paced or a longer running self-paced version like the upcoming one.



Declare energy independence with carbon dividends

Posted on 5 July 2018 by Guest Author

Taking action on climate is about a lot more than our energy economy. Climate disruption is the leading threat to our built environment, an accelerant of armed conflict, and a leading cause of mass migration. Its effects intensify and prolong storms, droughts, wildfires, and floods — resulting in the US spending as much on disaster management in 2017 as in the three decades from 1980 to 2010.


 Out of control wildfire approaching Estreito da Calheta, Portugal. September 2017. Photograph: Michael Held

Fiscal conservatism and national security require a smart, focused, effective solution that protects our economy and our values.

Political division between the major parties in Washington has left the burden of achieving that solution largely on Democratic administrations using regulatory measures that — for all their smart design and ambition — cannot be transformational enough to carry us through to a livable future.

Conservatives say the nation needs an insurance policy. Business leaders want to future-proof their operations and investments. Young people are demanding intervention on the scale of the Allies’ efforts to rebuild Europe after World War II. 



Future projections of Antarctic ice shelf melting

Posted on 3 July 2018 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from ClimateSight

Climate change will increase ice shelf melt rates around Antarctica. That’s the not-very-surprising conclusion of my latest modelling study, done in collaboration with both Australian and German researchers, which was just published in Journal of Climate. Here’s the less intuitive result: much of the projected increase in melt rates is actually linked to a decrease in sea ice formation.

That’s a lot of different kinds of ice, so let’s back up a bit. Sea ice is just frozen seawater. But ice shelves (as well as ice sheets and icebergs) are originally formed of snow. Snow falls on the Antarctic continent, and over many years compacts into a system of interconnected glaciers that we call an ice sheet. These glaciers flow downhill towards the coast. If they hit the coast and keep going, floating on the ocean surface, the floating bits are called ice shelves. Sometimes the edges of ice shelves will break off and form icebergs, but they don’t really come into this story.

Climate models don’t typically include ice sheets, or ice shelves, or icebergs. This is one reason why projections of sea level rise are so uncertain. But some standalone ocean models do include ice shelves. At least, they include the little pockets of ocean beneath the ice shelves – we call them ice shelf cavities – and can simulate the melting and refreezing that happens on the ice shelf base.

We took one of these ocean/ice-shelf models and forced it with the atmospheric output of regular climate models, which periodically make projections of climate change from now until the end of the century. We completed four different simulations, consisting of two different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios (“Representative Concentration Pathways” or RCPs) and two different choices of climate model (“ACCESS 1.0”, or “MMM” for the multi-model mean). Each simulation required 896 processors on the supercomputer in Canberra. By comparison, your laptop or desktop computer probably has about 4 processors. These are pretty sizable models!

In every simulation, and in every region of Antarctica, ice shelf melting increased over the 21st century. The total increase ranged from 41% to 129% depending on the scenario. The largest increases occurred in the Amundsen Sea region, marked with red circles in the maps below, which happens to be the region exhibiting the most severe melting in recent observations. In the most extreme scenario, ice shelf melting in this region nearly quadrupled.

Percent change in ice shelf melting, caused by the ocean, during the four future projections. The values are shown for all of Antarctica (written on the centre of the continent) as well as split up into eight sectors (colour-coded, written inside the circles). Figure 3 of Naughten et al., 2018, © American Meteorological Society.



Republicans try to save their deteriorating party with another push for a carbon tax

Posted on 2 July 2018 by dana1981

The Republican Party is rotting away
. The problem is that GOP policies just aren’t popular. Most Americans unsurprisingly oppose climate denial, tax cuts for the wealthy, and putting children (including toddlers) in concentration camps, for example.

The Republican Party has thus far managed to continue winning elections by creating “a coalition between racists and plutocrats,” as Paul Krugman put it. The party’s economic policies are aimed at benefitting wealthy individuals and corporations, but that’s a slim segment of the American electorate. The plutocrats can fund political campaigns, but to capture enough votes to win elections, the GOP has resorted to identity politics. Research has consistently shown that Trump won because of racial resentment among white voters.

While that strategy has worked in the short-term, some Republicans recognize that it can’t work in the long-term, and they’re fighting to save their party from extinction.

Can a carbon tax save the GOP?

Climate change is one of many issues that divides the Republican Party. Like racial resentment, climate denial is a position held mostly by old, white, male conservatives. There’s a climate change generational, ethnic, and gender gap. 61% of Republicans under the age of 50 support government climate policies, compared to just 44% of Republicans over 50. Similarly, a majority of Hispanic- and African-Americans accept human-caused global warming and 70% express concern about it, as compared to just 41% of whites who accept the scientific reality and 50% who worry about it.

But the plutocratic wing of the GOP loves fossil fuels. Republican politicians rely on campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry, and quid pro quo requires them to do the industry’s bidding. It might as well be called the Grand Oil Party.



2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #26

Posted on 1 July 2018 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Graphic of the Week... Video of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

Warming of 2C ‘substantially’ more harmful than 1.5C – draft UN report

Latest version of major UN science report concludes the upper temperature goal of the Paris Agreement does not represent a climate safe zone 

Arctic sea ice and Walrus 

Walrus use sea ice to rest while hunting. But at 2C the Arctic is "very likely" to be ice-free one year in ten, scientists have found (Photo: Brad Benter/USFWS)

A leaked draft of a major UN climate change report shows growing certainty that 2C, once shorthand for a ‘safe’ amount of planetary warming, would be a dangerous step for humanity.

The authors make clear the difference between warming of 1.5C and 2C would be “substantial” and damaging to communities, economies and ecosystems across the world.

In 2015, the Paris Agreement established twin goals to hold temperature rise from pre-industrial times “well below 2C” and strive for 1.5C.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has since been working to assess the difference between those targets, with a view to publishing a sweeping analysis of all available research in October this year.

The report summary, which Climate Home News published on Wednesday, is a draft and subject to change. The IPCC said it would not comment on leaked reports. An earlier draft from January was also published by CHN

Warming of 2C ‘substantially’ more harmful than 1.5C – draft UN report by Karl Mathiesen, Megan Darby & Soila Apparicio, Climate Home News, June 27, 2018

 Also see:

Leaked final government draft of UN 1.5C climate report – annotated by Karl Mathiesen, Megan Darby & Soila Apparicio, Climate Home News, June 27, 2018



2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #26

Posted on 30 June 2018 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

A city in Oman just posted the world’s hottest low temperature ever recorded: 109 degrees 

Oman June 26, 2018 

Above: MODIS satellite image from June 26, 2018 shows clear weather over Oman on the day the 24-hour world high-minimum temperature record was set at Quriyat, Oman. Image credit: NASA.

Over a period of 24 hours, the temperature in the coastal city of Quriyat, Oman, never dropped below 108.7 degrees (42.6 Celsius) Tuesday, most likely the highest minimum temperature ever observed on Earth.

For a location to remain no lower than 109 degrees around the clock is mind-boggling. In many locations, a temperature of 109 degrees even during the heat of the afternoon would be unprecedented. For example, in nearly  150 years of weather records, Washington, D.C.’s high temperature has never exceeded 106 degrees.

Quriyat’s suffocating low temperature, first reported by Jeff Masters at Weather Underground, breaks the world’s previous hottest minimum temperature of 107.4 degrees (41.9 Celsius), also set in Oman, on June 27, 2011.

Masters received word of the exceptional temperature from weather records expert Maximiliano Herrera. Incredibly, the temperature in Quriyat, Masters said, remained above 107.4 degrees (41.9 Celsius) for 51 straight hours. Its blistering afternoon high temperature of 121.6 degrees (49.8 Celsius) Tuesday was just about two degrees shy of Oman’s all-time heat record and its highest June temperature, Masters reported.

A city in Oman just posted the world’s hottest low temperature ever recorded: 109 degrees by Jason Samenow, Capital Weather Gang, Washington Post, June 7, 2018 



New research, June 18-24, 2018

Posted on 29 June 2018 by Ari Jokimäki

A selection of new climate related research articles is shown below.

Climate change

On the Time of Emergence of Tropical Width Change

Modeling the climate and carbon systems to estimate the social cost of carbon

Temperature, precipitation, wind

On the linearity of local and regional temperature changes from 1.5°C to 2°C of global warming

Changes in climate extremes over West and Central Africa at 1.5 °C and 2 °C global warming (open access)

How have daily climate extremes changed in the recent past over northeastern Argentina?

Ensemble-based CMIP5 simulations of West African summer monsoon rainfall: current climate and future changes

Secular variation of rainfall regime in the central region of Argentina

On the determination of global ocean wind and wave climate from satellite observations

Future Changes of Wind Speed and Wind Energy Potentials in EURO‐CORDEX Ensemble Simulations

Seasonal contrast of the dominant factors for spatial distribution of land surface temperature in urban areas

Extreme events

Projected changes in tropical cyclones over the South West Indian Ocean under different extents of global warming (open access)



What happened last time it was as warm as it’s going to get later this century?

Posted on 28 June 2018 by howardlee

This is a re-post from Ars Technica

"What's past is prologue"- Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

The year 2100 stands like a line of checkered flags at the climate change finish line, as if all our goals expire then. But like the warning etched on a car mirror: it’s closer than it appears. Kids born today will be grandparents when most climate projections end.

And yet, the climate won’t stop changing in 2100. Even if we succeed in limiting warming this century to 2ºC, we’ll have CO2 at around 500 parts per million. That’s a level not seen on this planet since the Middle Miocene, 16 million years ago, when our ancestors were apes. Temperatures then were about 5 to 8ºC warmer not 2º, and sea levels were some 40 meters (130 feet) or more higher, not the 1.5 feet (half a meter) anticipated at the end of this century by the 2013 IPCC report.

Why is there a yawning gap between end-century projections and what happened in Earth’s past? Are past climates telling us we’re missing something?


One big reason for the gap is simple: time.



Trump should inspire us all, but not in the way you might guess

Posted on 27 June 2018 by John Abraham

Scientists like me – and really, everyone – can learn from President Donald Trump’s mastery of viral messaging.

True, he has turned the United States into a pariah nation, one reviled for ripping immigrant children from their parents and from withdrawing from our only real chance at stabilizing the climate, the Paris Accord

But Trump’s success at creating and maintaining a political base is not because of his incoherent policies. It is solely because he is able to communicate with people in ways that that evoke emotion, go viral, and make people think he understands them.

The way super-communicators like Jesus, Shakespeare, Oprah, or even Trump work their magic was unpacked by Dr. Joe Romm in a must-read book, How To Go Viral and Reach Millions.

The cover of ‘How to Go Viral and Reach Millions’ 

The cover of ‘How to Go Viral and Reach Millions’

The job for scientists, for all of us, is to learn the techniques that make our messages clicky and sticky, but use the techniques in a way that keeps the science true and the facts straight. Be a Jedi, not a Sith Lord.



Explainer: How scientists estimate ‘climate sensitivity’

Posted on 26 June 2018 by Zeke Hausfather

This is a re-post from Carbon Brief

The sensitivity of the Earth’s climate to increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration is a question that sits at the heart of climate science.

Essentially, it dictates how much global temperatures will rise in response to human-caused CO2 emissions, but it is a question that does not yet have a clear answer.

For many years, estimates have put climate sensitivity somewhere between 1.5C and 4.5C of warming for a doubling of pre-industrial CO2 levels. This range has remained stubbornly wide, despite many individual studies claiming to narrow it.

Here, Carbon Brief examines studies of climate sensitivity published over the past two decades. These studies use climate models, recent observations and palaeoclimate data from the Earth’s more distant past to estimate climate sensitivity.

There appears to be no evidence that recent studies show a substantially different range of sensitivity than in the past, though some approaches generally result in lower or higher sensitivity than others.

While narrowing the range of sensitivity will not change the need for rapid decarbonisation, it may help policymakers fine-tune their plans for the future.



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