Long-Term climate change commitment and reversibility: An EMIC intercomparison

Kirsten Zickfeld, Michael Eby, Andrew J. Weaver, Kaitlin Alexander, Elisabeth Crespin, Neil R. Edwards, Alexey V. Eliseev, Georg Feulner, Thierry Fichefet, Chris E. Forest, Pierre Friedlingstein, Hugues Goosse, Philip B. Holden, Fortunat Joos, Michio Kawamiya, David Kicklighter, Hendrik Kienert, Katsumi Matsumoto, Igor I. Mokhov, Erwan MonierSteffen M. Olsen, Jens O.P. Pedersen, Mahe Perrette, Gwenaëlle Philippon-Berthier, Andy Ridgwell, Adam Schlosser, Thomas Schneider Von Deimling, Gary Shaffer, Andrei Sokolov, Renato Spahni, Marco Steinacher, Kaoru Tachiiri, Kathy S. Tokos, Masakazu Yoshimori, Ning Zeng, Fang Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

136 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper summarizes the results of an intercomparison project with Earth System Models of Intermediate Complexity (EMICs) undertaken in support of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). The focus is on long-term climate projections designed to 1) quantify the climate change commitment of different radiative forcing trajectories and 2) explore the extent to which climate change is reversible on human time scales. All commitment simulations follow the four representative concentration pathways (RCPs) and their extensions to year 2300. MostEMICs simulate substantial surface air temperature and thermosteric sea level rise commitment following stabilization of the atmospheric composition at year-2300 levels. The meridional overturning circulation (MOC) is weakened temporarily and recovers to near-preindustrial values in most models for RCPs 2.6-6.0. The MOC weakening is more persistent for RCP8.5. Elimination of anthropogenic CO2 emissions after 2300 results in slowly decreasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations. At year 3000 atmospheric CO2 is still at more than half its year-2300 level in all EMICs forRCPs 4.5-8.5. Surface air temperature remains constant or decreases slightly and thermosteric sea level rise continues for centuries after elimination ofCO2 emissions in allEMICs.Restoration of atmosphericCO2 fromRCPto preindustrial levels over 100-1000 years requires large artificial removal of CO2 from the atmosphere and does not result in the simultaneous return to preindustrial climate conditions, as surface air temperature and sea level response exhibit a substantial time lag relative to atmospheric CO2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5782-5809
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume26
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Long-Term climate change commitment and reversibility: An EMIC intercomparison'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Zickfeld, K., Eby, M., Weaver, A. J., Alexander, K., Crespin, E., Edwards, N. R., Eliseev, A. V., Feulner, G., Fichefet, T., Forest, C. E., Friedlingstein, P., Goosse, H., Holden, P. B., Joos, F., Kawamiya, M., Kicklighter, D., Kienert, H., Matsumoto, K., Mokhov, I. I., ... Zhao, F. (2013). Long-Term climate change commitment and reversibility: An EMIC intercomparison. Journal of Climate, 26(16), 5782-5809. https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00584.1