An estimate of equilibrium climate sensitivity from interannual variability

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: This is version 3 of this Preprint.

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.


Download Preprint

Supplementary Files

Andrew Dessler, Piers Forster


Estimating the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS; the equilibrium warming in response to a doubling of CO2) from observations is one of the big problems in climate science. Using observations of interannual climate variations covering the period 2000 to 2017 and a model-derived relationship between interannual variations and forced climate change, we estimate ECS is likely 2.4-4.6 K (17-83% confidence interval), with a mode and median value of 2.9 and 3.3 K, respectively. This analysis provides no support for low values of ECS (below 2 K) suggested by other analyses. The main uncertainty in our estimate is not observational uncertainty, but rather uncertainty in converting observations of short-term, mainly unforced climate variability to an estimate of the response of the climate system to long-term forced warming.



Climate, Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Climate variability, equilibrium climate sensitivity


Published: 2018-02-03 15:13

Last Updated: 2018-09-29 07:52

Older Versions

Academic Free License (AFL) 3.0