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Pacific climate variability biases constrained warming projections towards low estimates

A comprehensive analysis of observations and model simulations finds that future global mean warming is likely to be larger than previously thought, and that limiting global warming to well below 2°C will be more difficult than previously anticipated.

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Fig. 1: Constrained and unconstrained global mean temperature changes in the period 2081–2100 relative to 1850–1900.

References

  1. Lee, J.-Y. et al. in Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis Ch. 4 (eds Masson-Delmotte, V. et al.) 553–672 (IPCC, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2021). The IPCC chapter that assessed global warming projections, largely constrained using the historical warming trend.

  2. Kosaka, Y. & Xie, S. P. Recent global-warming hiatus tied to equatorial Pacific surface cooling. Nature 501, 403–407 (2013). A study demonstrating the strong influence of trends in the eastern tropical Pacific on the global warming trend.

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  4. Armour, K. C. et al. Sea-surface temperature pattern effects have slowed global warming and biased warming-based constraints on climate sensitivity. Proc. Natl Acad Sci. USA 121, e2312093121 (2024). A study showing that the pattern effect biases observationally constrained estimates of climate sensitivity low.

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This is a summary of: Liang, Y. et al. Accounting for Pacific climate variability increases projected global warming. Nat. Clim. Change https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-024-02017-y (2024).

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Pacific climate variability biases constrained warming projections towards low estimates. Nat. Clim. Chang. 14, 559–560 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-024-02018-x

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