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On the generation and interpretation of probabilistic estimates of climate sensitivity

On the generation and interpretation of probabilistic estimates of climate sensitivity,10.1007/s10584-009-9715-y,Climatic Change,J. D. Annan,J. C. Har

On the generation and interpretation of probabilistic estimates of climate sensitivity   (Citations: 5)
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The equilibrium climate response to anthropogenic forcing has long been one of the dominant, and therefore most intensively studied, uncertainties in predicting future climate change. As a result, many probabilistic estimates of the climate sensitivity (S) have been presented. In recent years, most of them have assigned significant probability to extremely high sensitivity, such as P(S > 6C) > 5%. In this paper, we investigate some of the assumptions underlying these estimates. We show that the popular choice of a uniform prior has unacceptable properties and cannot be reasonably considered to generate meaningful and usable results. When instead reasonable assumptions are made, much greater confidence in a moderate value for S is easily justified, with an upper 95% probability limit for S easily shown to lie close to 4°C, and certainly well below 6°C. These results also impact strongly on projected economic losses due to climate change.
Journal: Climatic Change , vol. 104, no. 3, pp. 423-436, 2011
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