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Past rapid warmings as a constraint on greenhouse-gas climate feedbacks

Liu, M. ORCID:, Prentice, I. C. ORCID:, Menviel, L. ORCID: and Harrison, S. P. ORCID: (2022) Past rapid warmings as a constraint on greenhouse-gas climate feedbacks. Communications Earth & Environment, 3 (1). 196. ISSN 2662-4435

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/s43247-022-00536-0


There are large uncertainties in the estimation of greenhouse-gas climate feedback. Recent observations do not provide strong constraints because they are short and complicated by human interventions, while model-based estimates differ considerably. Rapid climate changes during the last glacial period (Dansgaard-Oeschger events), observed near-globally, were comparable in both rate and magnitude to current and projected 21st century climate warming and therefore provide a relevant constraint on feedback strength. Here we use these events to quantify the centennial-scale feedback strength of CO2, CH4 and N2O by relating global mean temperature changes, simulated by an appropriately forced low-resolution climate model, to the radiative forcing of these greenhouse gases derived from their concentration changes in ice-core records. We derive feedback estimates (expressed as dimensionless gain) of 0.14 ± 0.04 for CO2, 0.10 ± 0.02 for CH4, and 0.09 ± 0.03 for N2O. This indicates that much lower or higher estimates of gains, particularly some previously published values for CO2, are unrealistic

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:114111
Publisher:Springer Nature


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