Climate change and trace gases

  title={Climate change and trace gases},
  author={James E. Hansen and Makiko Sato and Pushker A. Kharecha and Gary L. Russell and David W. Lea and Mark E Siddall},
  journal={Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences},
  pages={1925 - 1954}
  • J. HansenMakiko Sato M. Siddall
  • Published 15 July 2007
  • Environmental Science
  • Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Palaeoclimate data show that the Earth's climate is remarkably sensitive to global forcings. Positive feedbacks predominate. This allows the entire planet to be whipsawed between climate states. One feedback, the ‘albedo flip’ property of ice/water, provides a powerful trigger mechanism. A climate forcing that ‘flips’ the albedo of a sufficient portion of an ice sheet can spark a cataclysm. Inertia of ice sheet and ocean provides only moderate delay to ice sheet disintegration and a burst of… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Climate sensitivity, sea level and atmospheric carbon dioxide

Burning all fossil fuels would make most of the planet uninhabitable by humans, thus calling into question strategies that emphasize adaptation to climate change.

Polar amplification of Pliocene climate by elevated trace gas radiative forcing

It is concluded that natural trace gas feedbacks are critical for interpreting climate warmth during the Pliocene and potentially many other warm phases of the Cenezoic.

Paleoclimate Implications for Human-Made Climate Change

Paleoclimate data help us assess climate sensitivity and potential human-made climate effects. We conclude that Earth in the warmest interglacial periods of the past million years was less than 1°C

Implications of the Secondary Role of Carbon Dioxide and Methane Forcing in Climate Change: Past, Present, and Future

A review of the recent refereed literature fails to confirm quantitatively that carbon dioxide (CO2) radiative forcing was the prime mover in the changes in temperature, ice-sheet volume, and related

Strong chemistry‐climate feedbacks in the Pliocene

The Pliocene epoch was the last sustained interval when global climate was significantly warmer than today but has been difficult to explain fully based on the external forcings from atmospheric

Target atmospheric CO2: Where should humanity aim?

Paleoclimate data show that climate sensitivity is ~3 deg-C for doubled CO2, including only fast feedback processes. Equilibrium sensitivity, including slower surface albedo feedbacks, is ~6 deg-C

Climate-Driven Physical and Chemical Changes in Marine Ecosystems

Covering more than two-thirds of the Earth’s surface, the oceans are a central component of the global climate system. The oceans help to control the timing and regional distribution of the Earth’s

Young People's Burden: Requirement of Negative CO2 Emissions

Abstract. Global temperature is a fundamental climate metric highly correlated with sea level, which implies that keeping shorelines near their present location requires keeping global temperature

Quantitative implications of the secondary role of carbon dioxide climate forcing in the past glacial-interglacial cycles for the likely future climatic impacts of anthropogenic greenhouse-gas forcings

A review of the recent refereed literature fails to confirm quantitatively that carbon dioxide (CO2) radiative forcing was the prime mover in the changes in temperature, ice-sheet volume, and related

Global warming in the pipeline

Improved knowledge of glacial-to-interglacial global temperature change implies that fast-feedback equilibrium climate sensitivity is at least ~4°C for doubled CO 2 (2×CO 2 ), with likely range



Evolution of carbon sinks in a changing climate.

Analysis of the results in the context of comparable models suggests that destabilization of the tropical land sink is qualitatively robust, although its degree is uncertain.

Acceleration of global warming due to carbon-cycle feedbacks in a coupled climate model

Results from a fully coupled, three-dimensional carbon–climate model are presented, indicating that carbon-cycle feedbacks could significantly accelerate climate change over the twenty-first century.

Evaluation of the potential impact of methane clathrate destabilization on future global warming

Future global warming due to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases has the potential to destabilize methane clathrates, which are found in permafrost regions and in continental slope sediments

Efficacy of climate forcings

[1] We use a global climate model to compare the effectiveness of many climate forcing agents for producing climate change. We find a substantial range in the “efficacy” of different forcings, where

Eocene hyperthermal event offers insight into greenhouse warming

What happens to the Earth's climate, environment, and biota when thousands of gigatons of greenhouse gases are rapidly added to the atmosphere? Modern anthropogenic forcing of atmospheric chemistry

Paleoproterozoic snowball earth: extreme climatic and geochemical global change and its biological consequences.

Geological, geophysical, and geochemical data support a theory that Earth experienced several intervals of intense, global glaciation ("snowball Earth" conditions) during Precambrian time. This

The snowball Earth hypothesis: testing the limits of global change

The gradual discovery that late Neoproterozoic ice sheets extended to sea level near the equator poses a palaeoenvironmental conundrum. Was the Earth's orbital obliquity > 60° (making the tropics

One-to-one coupling of glacial climate variability in Greenland and Antarctica

A glacial climate record derived from an ice core from Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica, is presented which represents South Atlantic climate at a resolution comparable with the Greenland ice core records and shows a one-to-one coupling between all Antarctic warm events and Greenland Dansgaard–Oeschger events by the bipolar seesaw.

One-to-one coupling of glacial climate variability in Greenland and Antarctica.

Precise knowledge of the phase relationship between climate changes in the two hemispheres is a key for understanding the Earth's climate dynamics. For the last glacial period, ice core studies1, 2

Slow dynamics of the Northern Hemisphere glaciation

[1] Unraveling the dynamics of the Northern Hemisphere glaciation (NHG) in the Pliocene is a key step toward a quantitative theory of the climate transition from a greenhouse to an icehouse world.