Ivy Tan, Trude Storelvmo, Mark D. Zelinka


Published date April 8, 2016

Observational constraints on mixed-phase clouds imply higher climate sensitivity

  • States that how much global average temperature eventually will rise depends on the Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS), which relates atmospheric CO2 concentration to atmospheric temperature
  • States that  ECS has been estimated to be between 2.0° and 4.6°C for decades, with much of that uncertainty owing to the difficulty of establishing the effects of clouds on Earth's energy budget
  • Uses satellite observations to constrain the radiative impact of mixed phase clouds
  • Concludes that ECS could be between 5.0° and 5.3°C—higher than suggested by most global climate models