Scientists studying climate change have long debated exactly how much hotter Earth will become given certain amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Models predicting this “climate sensitivity” number may be closer to the observed reality than some previously thought, according to a new study.
Observations in the past decade seemed to suggest a value lower than predicted by models. But the new study shows that two leading methods for calculating how hot the planet will get are not as far apart as they have appeared.
In climate science, the climate sensitivity is how much the surface air temperature will increase if you double carbon dioxide from pre-Industrial levels and then wait a very long time for the Earth’s temperature to fully adjust. Recent observations predicted that the climate sensitivity might be less than that suggested by models.