ESTIMATING CLIMATE SENSITIVITY

REPORT OF A WORKSHOP

Steering Committee on Probabilistic Estimates of Climate Sensitivity

Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

Division of Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington , D.C.
www.nap.edu



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ESTIMATING CLIMATE SENSITIVITY REPORT OF A WORKSHOP Steering Committee on Probabilistic Estimates of Climate Sensitivity Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Division of Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington , D.C. www.nap.edu

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this workshop was provided by the Environmental Protection Agency under Contract No. 2W-0373-NANX. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-09056-3 (Book) International Standard Book Number 0-309-52702-3 (PDF) Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2003 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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WORKSHOP STEERING COMMITTEE ROSINA M. BIERBAUM, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MICHAEL J. PRATHER, University of California, Irvine EUGENE M. RASMUSSON, University of Maryland, College Park ANDREW J. WEAVER, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada Workshop Moderator JERRY D. MAHLMAN, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado NRC Staff LAURIE S. GELLER, Study Director ELIZABETH A. GALINIS, Project Assistant JULIE DEMUTH, Research Associate

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BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE ERIC J. BARRON (chair), Pennsylvania State University, University Park RAYMOND J. BAN, The Weather Channel, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia ROBERT C. BEARDSLEY, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts ROSINA M. BIERBAUM, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor HOWARD B. BLUESTEIN, University of Oklahoma, Norman RAFAEL L. BRAS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge STEVEN F. CLIFFORD, University of Colorado/CIRES, Boulder CASSANDRA G. FESEN, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire GEORGE L. FREDERICK, Vaisala, Inc., Boulder, Colorado JUDITH L. LEAN, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C. MARGARET A. LEMONE, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado MARIO J. MOLINA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MICHAEL J. PRATHER, University of California, Irvine WILLIAM J. RANDEL, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado RICHARD D. ROSEN, Atmospheric & Environmental Research, Inc., Lexington, Massachusetts THOMAS F. TASCIONE, Sterling Software, Inc., Bellevue, Nebraska JOHN C. WYNGAARD, Pennsylvania State University, University Park Ex Officio Members EUGENE M. RASMUSSON, University of Maryland, College Park ERIC F. WOOD, Princeton University, New Jersey NRC Staff CHRIS ELFRING, Director ELBERT W. (JOE) FRIDAY, JR., Senior Scholar LAURIE S. GELLER, Senior Program Officer AMANDA STAUDT, Program Officer JULIE DEMUTH, Research Associate ELIZABETH A. GALINIS, Project Assistant ROB GREENWAY, Project Assistant DIANE GUSTAFSON, Administrative Associate ROBIN MORRIS, Financial Associate

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This workshop summary has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the summary meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the workshop charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Robert Dickinson, Georgia Institute of Technology Anthony Broccoli, Rutgers University Joyce Penner, University of Michigan Veerabhadran Ramanathan, University of California, San Diego Norman Rosenberg, University of Maryland, College Park Francis Zwiers, Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis Although the reviewers listed above provided constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the report, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. We also wish to thank the steering committee that selected the workshop participants and designed the agenda: Rosina M. Bierbaum, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Michael J. Prather, University of California, Irvine; Eugene M. Rasmusson, University of Maryland, College Park; Andrew J. Weaver, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. In addition, special thanks go to Jerry Mahlman, National Center for Atmospheric Research, who played a key role as moderator of the workshop that was the basis of this report. His scientific expertise and meeting facilitation skills were crucial to ensuring the success of this activity.

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CONTENTS     INTRODUCTION   1     OPENING SESSION   2     APPROACHES FOR ESTIMATING CLIMATE SENSITIVITY   7     CLIMATE FEEDBACKS   11     CHARACTERIZING UNCERTAINTY   17     MEETING THE NEEDS OF THE USER COMMUNITY   21     CLOSING SESSION   24     REFERENCES   33 APPENDIX A:   ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS   35 APPENDIX B:   WORKSHOP AGENDA   36 APPENDIX C:   WORKSHOP ATTENDEES   38 APPENDIX D:   INVITED SPEAKERS’ BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION   39

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