A single equation connecting global surface warming with carbon emissions
What is it about?
Climate models reveal that global surface warming is nearly proportional to cumulative carbon emissions on multi-decadal to centennial timescales. However, this near linear dependence between warming and cumulative carbon emissions is not understood. We present a single equation connecting surface warming and carbon emissions, which is based upon a heat balance and a global carbon budget. This near linear dependence between surface warming and carbon emissions is due to partially opposing effects of ocean heat and carbon uptake.
Why is it important?
Projections from climate models differ in how much surface warming occurs for a given carbon emission. Our particular study suggests that a surface warming of 1.1 +/- 0.5 K occurs for every 1000 PgC of carbon emitted (1000 PgC is the same as a trillion tonnes of carbon). Our theory may be used to diagnose the global warming response in different climate models and mechanistically understand the differences between their projections.
The following have contributed to this page: Professor Richard G Williams