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

Fischer, Hubertus; Meissner, Katrin J.; Mix, Alan C.; Abram, Nerilie J.; Austermann, Jacqueline; Brovkin, Victor; Capron, Emilie; Colombaroli, Daniele; Daniau, Anne-Laure; Dyez, Kelsey A.; Felis, Thomas; Finkelstein, Sarah A.; Jaccard, Samuel; McClymont, Erin L.; Rovere, Alessio; Sutter, Johannes; Wolff, Eric W.; Affolter, Stéphane; Bakker, Pepijn; Ballesteros-Cánovas, Juan Antonio; ... (2018). Palaeoclimate constraints on the impact of 2 °C anthropogenic warming and beyond. Nature geoscience, 11(7), pp. 474-485. Nature Publishing Group 10.1038/s41561-018-0146-0

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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.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > PAGES Past Global Changes
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Palaeoecology
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Fischer, Hubertus; Colombaroli, Daniele; Jaccard, Samuel; Affolter, Stéphane; Gottschalk, Julia; Joos, Fortunat; Loutre, Marie-France; Marcisz, Katarzyna; Nehrbass-Ahles, Christoph; Raible, Christoph; Stocker, Thomas; Velásquez Álvarez, Patricio Andrés; Tinner, Willy and Vogel, Hendrik

Subjects:

500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology
500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

1752-0894

Publisher:

Nature Publishing Group

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

05 Jul 2018 11:03

Last Modified:

13 Aug 2018 11:39

Publisher DOI:

10.1038/s41561-018-0146-0

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Biogeochemistry; Palaeoceanography; Palaeoclimate

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.118308

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/118308

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