Comments on "Why Hasn't Earth Warmed as Much as Expected?"

Reto Knutti, Gian-Kasper Plattner
2012 Journal of Climate  
In a recent paper, Schwartz et al. suggest that 1) over the last century the earth has warmed less than expected, and they discuss several factors that could explain the discrepancy, including climate sensitivity estimates and aerosol forcing. Schwartz et al. then continue to 2) estimate the allowed carbon emissions for stabilization of global temperature, and find that given the uncertainty in the climate sensitivity even the sign of these allowed carbon emissions is unknown, implying that
more » ... , implying that past emissions may already have committed the earth to 28C warming for a best-estimate value of climate sensitivity of 3 K. Both of these conclusions in the Schwartz et al. study are revisited herein, and it is shown that 1) in contrast to Schwartz et al., current assessments of climate sensitivity, radiative forcing, and thermal disequilibrium do not support the claim of a discrepancy between expected and observed warming; and 2) the allowed emissions estimated by Schwartz et al. are in conflict with results from a hierarchy of climate-carbon cycle models and are strongly underestimated due to erroneous assumptions about the behavior of the carbon cycle and a confusion of the relevant time scales.
doi:10.1175/2011jcli4038.1 fatcat:z3o36pzkszfttfiphabeda5yv4