Preprint Communication Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

A Re-evaluation of Climate Sensitivity

Version 1 : Received: 23 May 2021 / Approved: 24 May 2021 / Online: 24 May 2021 (15:13:18 CEST)

How to cite: Wilson, I.H. A Re-evaluation of Climate Sensitivity. Preprints 2021, 2021050583. Wilson, I.H. A Re-evaluation of Climate Sensitivity. Preprints 2021, 2021050583.


Equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) is the change in global mean temperature expected to result from doubling atmospheric CO2 concentration from pre-industrial levels. Extensive research during the past 40 years has not reduced the uncertainty associated with ECS. Sherwood et al. [1] applied Bayesian statistics to evidence from climate-process physics, historical observations and earlier proxies to reduce the range of ECS from 1.5 – 4.5 K to 2.6 – 4.1 K. This paper examines their methods and many of the assumptions they made. It also evaluates two additional periods in the Holocene to show that factors other than CO2 drove recent climate change. It identifies potential systematic errors resulting from adding non-equilibrium short-term adjustments to the radiative forcing of greenhouse gases and from underestimating the effects of solar irradiance, ocean currents and aerosols. These factors have resulted in estimates of the forcing by CO2 that far exceed the apparent effects in paleoclimate data.


greenhouse gases; climate sensitivity; rapid adjustments; Bayesian analysis


Environmental and Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science and Meteorology

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