Palaeoclimate constraints on the impact of 2 °c anthropogenic warming and beyond

Hubertus Fischer, Katrin J. Meissner, Alan C. Mix, Nerilie J. Abram, Jacqueline Austermann, Victor Brovkin, Emilie Capron, Daniele Colombaroli, Anne Laure Daniau, Kelsey A. Dyez, Thomas Felis, Sarah A. Finkelstein, Samuel L. Jaccard, Erin L. McClymont, Alessio Rovere, Johannes Sutter, Eric W. Wolff, Stéphane Affolter, Pepijn Bakker, Juan Antonio Ballesteros-Cánovas & 39 others Carlo Barbante, Thibaut Caley, Anders E. Carlson, Olga Churakova, Giuseppe Cortese, Brian F. Cumming, Basil A.S. Davis, Anne De Vernal, Julien Emile-Geay, Sherilyn C. Fritz, Paul Gierz, Julia Gottschalk, Max D. Holloway, Fortunat Joos, Michal Kucera, Marie France Loutre, Daniel J. Lunt, Katarzyna Marcisz, Jennifer R. Marlon, Philippe Martinez, Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Christoph Nehrbass-Ahles, Bette L. Otto-Bliesner, Christoph C. Raible, Bjørg Risebrobakken, Mariá F. Sánchez Goñi, Jennifer Saleem Arrigo, Michael Sarnthein, Jesper Sjolte, Thomas F. Stocker, Patricio A. Velasquez Alvárez, Willy Tinner, Paul J. Valdes, Hendrik Vogel, Heinz Wanner, Qing Yan, Zicheng Yu, Martin Ziegler, Liping Zhou

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Over the past 3.5 million years, there have been several intervals when climate conditions were warmer than during the pre-industrial Holocene. Although past intervals of warming were forced differently than future anthropogenic change, such periods can provide insights into potential future climate impacts and ecosystem feedbacks, especially over centennial-to-millennial timescales that are often not covered by climate model simulations. Our observation-based synthesis of the understanding of past intervals with temperatures within the range of projected future warming suggests that there is a low risk of runaway greenhouse gas feedbacks for global warming of no more than 2 °C. However, substantial regional environmental impacts can occur. A global average warming of 1–2 °C with strong polar amplification has, in the past, been accompanied by significant shifts in climate zones and the spatial distribution of land and ocean ecosystems. Sustained warming at this level has also led to substantial reductions of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, with sea-level increases of at least several metres on millennial timescales. Comparison of palaeo observations with climate model results suggests that, due to the lack of certain feedback processes, model-based climate projections may underestimate long-term warming in response to future radiative forcing by as much as a factor of two, and thus may also underestimate centennial-to-millennial-scale sea-level rise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-485
Number of pages12
JournalNature Geoscience
Volume11
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018

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paleoclimate
warming
global warming
climate modeling
timescale
ecosystem
climate effect
climate
radiative forcing
climate conditions
ice sheet
amplification
greenhouse gas
environmental impact
Holocene
sea level
spatial distribution
ocean
simulation
temperature

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Fischer, H., Meissner, K. J., Mix, A. C., Abram, N. J., Austermann, J., Brovkin, V., ... Zhou, L. (2018). Palaeoclimate constraints on the impact of 2 °c anthropogenic warming and beyond. Nature Geoscience, 11(7), 474-485. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-018-0146-0
Fischer, Hubertus ; Meissner, Katrin J. ; Mix, Alan C. ; Abram, Nerilie J. ; Austermann, Jacqueline ; Brovkin, Victor ; Capron, Emilie ; Colombaroli, Daniele ; Daniau, Anne Laure ; Dyez, Kelsey A. ; Felis, Thomas ; Finkelstein, Sarah A. ; Jaccard, Samuel L. ; McClymont, Erin L. ; Rovere, Alessio ; Sutter, Johannes ; Wolff, Eric W. ; Affolter, Stéphane ; Bakker, Pepijn ; Ballesteros-Cánovas, Juan Antonio ; Barbante, Carlo ; Caley, Thibaut ; Carlson, Anders E. ; Churakova, Olga ; Cortese, Giuseppe ; Cumming, Brian F. ; Davis, Basil A.S. ; De Vernal, Anne ; Emile-Geay, Julien ; Fritz, Sherilyn C. ; Gierz, Paul ; Gottschalk, Julia ; Holloway, Max D. ; Joos, Fortunat ; Kucera, Michal ; Loutre, Marie France ; Lunt, Daniel J. ; Marcisz, Katarzyna ; Marlon, Jennifer R. ; Martinez, Philippe ; Masson-Delmotte, Valerie ; Nehrbass-Ahles, Christoph ; Otto-Bliesner, Bette L. ; Raible, Christoph C. ; Risebrobakken, Bjørg ; Sánchez Goñi, Mariá F. ; Arrigo, Jennifer Saleem ; Sarnthein, Michael ; Sjolte, Jesper ; Stocker, Thomas F. ; Velasquez Alvárez, Patricio A. ; Tinner, Willy ; Valdes, Paul J. ; Vogel, Hendrik ; Wanner, Heinz ; Yan, Qing ; Yu, Zicheng ; Ziegler, Martin ; Zhou, Liping. / Palaeoclimate constraints on the impact of 2 °c anthropogenic warming and beyond. In: Nature Geoscience. 2018 ; Vol. 11, No. 7. pp. 474-485.
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abstract = "Over the past 3.5 million years, there have been several intervals when climate conditions were warmer than during the pre-industrial Holocene. Although past intervals of warming were forced differently than future anthropogenic change, such periods can provide insights into potential future climate impacts and ecosystem feedbacks, especially over centennial-to-millennial timescales that are often not covered by climate model simulations. Our observation-based synthesis of the understanding of past intervals with temperatures within the range of projected future warming suggests that there is a low risk of runaway greenhouse gas feedbacks for global warming of no more than 2 °C. However, substantial regional environmental impacts can occur. A global average warming of 1–2 °C with strong polar amplification has, in the past, been accompanied by significant shifts in climate zones and the spatial distribution of land and ocean ecosystems. Sustained warming at this level has also led to substantial reductions of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, with sea-level increases of at least several metres on millennial timescales. Comparison of palaeo observations with climate model results suggests that, due to the lack of certain feedback processes, model-based climate projections may underestimate long-term warming in response to future radiative forcing by as much as a factor of two, and thus may also underestimate centennial-to-millennial-scale sea-level rise.",
author = "Hubertus Fischer and Meissner, {Katrin J.} and Mix, {Alan C.} and Abram, {Nerilie J.} and Jacqueline Austermann and Victor Brovkin and Emilie Capron and Daniele Colombaroli and Daniau, {Anne Laure} and Dyez, {Kelsey A.} and Thomas Felis and Finkelstein, {Sarah A.} and Jaccard, {Samuel L.} and McClymont, {Erin L.} and Alessio Rovere and Johannes Sutter and Wolff, {Eric W.} and St{\'e}phane Affolter and Pepijn Bakker and Ballesteros-C{\'a}novas, {Juan Antonio} and Carlo Barbante and Thibaut Caley and Carlson, {Anders E.} and Olga Churakova and Giuseppe Cortese and Cumming, {Brian F.} and Davis, {Basil A.S.} and {De Vernal}, Anne and Julien Emile-Geay and Fritz, {Sherilyn C.} and Paul Gierz and Julia Gottschalk and Holloway, {Max D.} and Fortunat Joos and Michal Kucera and Loutre, {Marie France} and Lunt, {Daniel J.} and Katarzyna Marcisz and Marlon, {Jennifer R.} and Philippe Martinez and Valerie Masson-Delmotte and Christoph Nehrbass-Ahles and Otto-Bliesner, {Bette L.} and Raible, {Christoph C.} and Bj{\o}rg Risebrobakken and {S{\'a}nchez Go{\~n}i}, {Mari{\'a} F.} and Arrigo, {Jennifer Saleem} and Michael Sarnthein and Jesper Sjolte and Stocker, {Thomas F.} and {Velasquez Alv{\'a}rez}, {Patricio A.} and Willy Tinner and Valdes, {Paul J.} and Hendrik Vogel and Heinz Wanner and Qing Yan and Zicheng Yu and Martin Ziegler and Liping Zhou",
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Fischer, H, Meissner, KJ, Mix, AC, Abram, NJ, Austermann, J, Brovkin, V, Capron, E, Colombaroli, D, Daniau, AL, Dyez, KA, Felis, T, Finkelstein, SA, Jaccard, SL, McClymont, EL, Rovere, A, Sutter, J, Wolff, EW, Affolter, S, Bakker, P, Ballesteros-Cánovas, JA, Barbante, C, Caley, T, Carlson, AE, Churakova, O, Cortese, G, Cumming, BF, Davis, BAS, De Vernal, A, Emile-Geay, J, Fritz, SC, Gierz, P, Gottschalk, J, Holloway, MD, Joos, F, Kucera, M, Loutre, MF, Lunt, DJ, Marcisz, K, Marlon, JR, Martinez, P, Masson-Delmotte, V, Nehrbass-Ahles, C, Otto-Bliesner, BL, Raible, CC, Risebrobakken, B, Sánchez Goñi, MF, Arrigo, JS, Sarnthein, M, Sjolte, J, Stocker, TF, Velasquez Alvárez, PA, Tinner, W, Valdes, PJ, Vogel, H, Wanner, H, Yan, Q, Yu, Z, Ziegler, M & Zhou, L 2018, 'Palaeoclimate constraints on the impact of 2 °c anthropogenic warming and beyond' Nature Geoscience, vol. 11, no. 7, pp. 474-485. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-018-0146-0

Palaeoclimate constraints on the impact of 2 °c anthropogenic warming and beyond. / Fischer, Hubertus; Meissner, Katrin J.; Mix, Alan C.; Abram, Nerilie J.; Austermann, Jacqueline; Brovkin, Victor; Capron, Emilie; Colombaroli, Daniele; Daniau, Anne Laure; Dyez, Kelsey A.; Felis, Thomas; Finkelstein, Sarah A.; Jaccard, Samuel L.; McClymont, Erin L.; Rovere, Alessio; Sutter, Johannes; Wolff, Eric W.; Affolter, Stéphane; Bakker, Pepijn; Ballesteros-Cánovas, Juan Antonio; Barbante, Carlo; Caley, Thibaut; Carlson, Anders E.; Churakova, Olga; Cortese, Giuseppe; Cumming, Brian F.; Davis, Basil A.S.; De Vernal, Anne; Emile-Geay, Julien; Fritz, Sherilyn C.; Gierz, Paul; Gottschalk, Julia; Holloway, Max D.; Joos, Fortunat; Kucera, Michal; Loutre, Marie France; Lunt, Daniel J.; Marcisz, Katarzyna; Marlon, Jennifer R.; Martinez, Philippe; Masson-Delmotte, Valerie; Nehrbass-Ahles, Christoph; Otto-Bliesner, Bette L.; Raible, Christoph C.; Risebrobakken, Bjørg; Sánchez Goñi, Mariá F.; Arrigo, Jennifer Saleem; Sarnthein, Michael; Sjolte, Jesper; Stocker, Thomas F.; Velasquez Alvárez, Patricio A.; Tinner, Willy; Valdes, Paul J.; Vogel, Hendrik; Wanner, Heinz; Yan, Qing; Yu, Zicheng; Ziegler, Martin; Zhou, Liping.

In: Nature Geoscience, Vol. 11, No. 7, 01.07.2018, p. 474-485.

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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T1 - Palaeoclimate constraints on the impact of 2 °c anthropogenic warming and beyond

AU - Fischer, Hubertus

AU - Meissner, Katrin J.

AU - Mix, Alan C.

AU - Abram, Nerilie J.

AU - Austermann, Jacqueline

AU - Brovkin, Victor

AU - Capron, Emilie

AU - Colombaroli, Daniele

AU - Daniau, Anne Laure

AU - Dyez, Kelsey A.

AU - Felis, Thomas

AU - Finkelstein, Sarah A.

AU - Jaccard, Samuel L.

AU - McClymont, Erin L.

AU - Rovere, Alessio

AU - Sutter, Johannes

AU - Wolff, Eric W.

AU - Affolter, Stéphane

AU - Bakker, Pepijn

AU - Ballesteros-Cánovas, Juan Antonio

AU - Barbante, Carlo

AU - Caley, Thibaut

AU - Carlson, Anders E.

AU - Churakova, Olga

AU - Cortese, Giuseppe

AU - Cumming, Brian F.

AU - Davis, Basil A.S.

AU - De Vernal, Anne

AU - Emile-Geay, Julien

AU - Fritz, Sherilyn C.

AU - Gierz, Paul

AU - Gottschalk, Julia

AU - Holloway, Max D.

AU - Joos, Fortunat

AU - Kucera, Michal

AU - Loutre, Marie France

AU - Lunt, Daniel J.

AU - Marcisz, Katarzyna

AU - Marlon, Jennifer R.

AU - Martinez, Philippe

AU - Masson-Delmotte, Valerie

AU - Nehrbass-Ahles, Christoph

AU - Otto-Bliesner, Bette L.

AU - Raible, Christoph C.

AU - Risebrobakken, Bjørg

AU - Sánchez Goñi, Mariá F.

AU - Arrigo, Jennifer Saleem

AU - Sarnthein, Michael

AU - Sjolte, Jesper

AU - Stocker, Thomas F.

AU - Velasquez Alvárez, Patricio A.

AU - Tinner, Willy

AU - Valdes, Paul J.

AU - Vogel, Hendrik

AU - Wanner, Heinz

AU - Yan, Qing

AU - Yu, Zicheng

AU - Ziegler, Martin

AU - Zhou, Liping

PY - 2018/7/1

Y1 - 2018/7/1

N2 - Over the past 3.5 million years, there have been several intervals when climate conditions were warmer than during the pre-industrial Holocene. Although past intervals of warming were forced differently than future anthropogenic change, such periods can provide insights into potential future climate impacts and ecosystem feedbacks, especially over centennial-to-millennial timescales that are often not covered by climate model simulations. Our observation-based synthesis of the understanding of past intervals with temperatures within the range of projected future warming suggests that there is a low risk of runaway greenhouse gas feedbacks for global warming of no more than 2 °C. However, substantial regional environmental impacts can occur. A global average warming of 1–2 °C with strong polar amplification has, in the past, been accompanied by significant shifts in climate zones and the spatial distribution of land and ocean ecosystems. Sustained warming at this level has also led to substantial reductions of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, with sea-level increases of at least several metres on millennial timescales. Comparison of palaeo observations with climate model results suggests that, due to the lack of certain feedback processes, model-based climate projections may underestimate long-term warming in response to future radiative forcing by as much as a factor of two, and thus may also underestimate centennial-to-millennial-scale sea-level rise.

AB - Over the past 3.5 million years, there have been several intervals when climate conditions were warmer than during the pre-industrial Holocene. Although past intervals of warming were forced differently than future anthropogenic change, such periods can provide insights into potential future climate impacts and ecosystem feedbacks, especially over centennial-to-millennial timescales that are often not covered by climate model simulations. Our observation-based synthesis of the understanding of past intervals with temperatures within the range of projected future warming suggests that there is a low risk of runaway greenhouse gas feedbacks for global warming of no more than 2 °C. However, substantial regional environmental impacts can occur. A global average warming of 1–2 °C with strong polar amplification has, in the past, been accompanied by significant shifts in climate zones and the spatial distribution of land and ocean ecosystems. Sustained warming at this level has also led to substantial reductions of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, with sea-level increases of at least several metres on millennial timescales. Comparison of palaeo observations with climate model results suggests that, due to the lack of certain feedback processes, model-based climate projections may underestimate long-term warming in response to future radiative forcing by as much as a factor of two, and thus may also underestimate centennial-to-millennial-scale sea-level rise.

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Fischer H, Meissner KJ, Mix AC, Abram NJ, Austermann J, Brovkin V et al. Palaeoclimate constraints on the impact of 2 °c anthropogenic warming and beyond. Nature Geoscience. 2018 Jul 1;11(7):474-485. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-018-0146-0