Objective estimation of the probability density function for climate sensitivity

Natalia G. Andronova, Michael E. Schlesinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The size and impacts of anthropogenically induced climate change (AICC) strongly depend on the climate sensitivity, ΔT2x. If ΔT2x is less than the lower bound given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 1.5°C, then AICC may not be a serious problem for humanity. If ΔT2x is greater than the upper bound given by the IPCC, 4.5°C, then AICC may be one of the most severe problems of the 21st century. Here we use a simple climate/ocean model, the observed near-surface temperature record, and a bootstrap technique to objectively estimate the probability density function for ΔT2x. We find that as a result of natural variability and uncertainty in the climatic radiative forcing, the 90% confidence interval for ΔT2x is 1.0°C to 9.3°C. Consequently, there is a 54% likelihood that ΔT2x lies outside the IPCC range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2000JD000259
Pages (from-to)22605-22611
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue numberD19
StatePublished - Oct 16 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Objective estimation of the probability density function for climate sensitivity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this