Latest climate models confirm need for urgent mitigation

Many recently updated climate models show greater future warming than previously. Separate lines of evidence suggest that their warming rates may be unrealistically high, but the risk of such eventualities only emphasizes the need for rapid and deep reductions in emissions.

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Fig. 1: The equilibrium climate sensitivity from CMIP5 and 21 currently available CMIP6 climate models.
Fig. 2: Temperature response to low- and high-end emissions scenarios.
Fig. 3: Idealized emissions scenarios with different net-zero dates and associated surface temperature change.

Data availability

Data for Fig. 2, and additional figures comparing SSPs and RCPs, are available from https://github.com/Priestley-Centre/CMIP5_CMIP6_FaIR_gsat_data.

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Acknowledgements

We thank C. Jones, K. Tokarska, T. Mauritsen, A. Klein Tank, A. Gettelman, V. Eyring, C. Schleussner, J. Rogelj and J. Marotzke for discussions. Funding was provided by European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement no. 820829 (CONSTRAIN) and UKRI NERC grant NE/N006038/1 (SMURPHS). We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme, which, through its Working Group on Coupled Modelling, coordinated and promoted CMIP6. We thank the climate modelling groups for producing and making available their model output, the Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) for archiving the data and providing access, and the multiple funding agencies who support CMIP6 and ESGF. M. Schlund is thanked for providing CMIP ECS data.

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P.M.F. conceived of the work and wrote the comment, with extensive contributions to both writing and ideas from A.C.M. C.M.M. provided the analysis of CMIP6 projections, made Fig. 2 and commented on the paper. C.J.S. provided the FaIR analysis and made Fig. 3.

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Correspondence to Piers M. Forster.

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Forster, P.M., Maycock, A.C., McKenna, C.M. et al. Latest climate models confirm need for urgent mitigation. Nat. Clim. Chang. 10, 7–10 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-019-0660-0

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