540 Quantification of Global Warming: A Critical Evaluation of CMIP5 GCMs

Tuesday, 9 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Austin Hope, Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD; and R. J. Salawitch, T. Canty, L. McBride, W. Tribett, and B. Bennett

We examine decadal time scale predictability of global climate using two approaches: calculations conducted using an Empirical Model of Global Climate (EM-GC) developed by our research group (Salawitch et al., Springer Climate, 2017), and analysis of archived output from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) general circulation models (GCMs). Our focus is on developing a probabilistic forecast of the rise in global mean surface temperature (GMST) likely to occur over the next several decades. We begin by evaluating the attributable anthropogenic warming rate (AAWR) on decadal time scales as well as the transient response of climate to cumulative carbon emission (TCRE), using our EM-GC as well as the GCMs. We show AAWR inferred from the climate record over the past 32 years using our EM-GC is about a factor of two less than the GCM-based value: i.e., the CMIP5 GCMs tend to warm about a factor of two too quickly. Next, we compare probabilistic projections of the rise in GMST, out to 2100, from the GCMs to calculations conducted using our EM-GC approach. The projections are used to assess the reduction in the emissions of GHGs that will be needed to achieve the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement (target of 1.5°C warming; upper limit of 2.0°C warming) based on the CMIP5 GCMs and our empirical model of global climate.
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