“Gavin’s sensitive side“. Anthony Watts does a copy and paste of a NASA press release about research into climate sensitivity (Daniel J. Lunt et al., 2010. “Earth System Sensitivity Inferred from Pliocene Modelling and Data,” in Nature Geoscience, Vol. 3, No. 1), but turns the post title into a childish personal dig at leading NASA climatologist Dr. Gavin Schmidt…
The research attempts to infer ancient climate sensitivity to CO2. Current models don’t work well on geological timescales:
Earth’s climate is also influenced by other, much slower processes. These include changes in ice sheets, vegetation and aerosols, for example, that take place over hundreds and thousands of years. Because of their complexity and long timescales, these processes are almost impossible to integrate into today’s climate computer models.
This sounds like grist for the denialist mill. “We can’t trust no dang ‘puter models! Garbage in, garbage out!” Why would Lunt break the conspirator’s agreement to hide problems? Maybe, shockingly, they’re trying to learn and improve?
The team found that it took much lower concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide to recreate the Pliocene’s warm climate than current models — which consider only the relatively fast-adjusting components of the climate — predict. Pliocene carbon dioxide levels are estimated to have been around 400 parts per million by volume (ppmv), while according to current simulations it would take 500 to 600 ppmv of carbon dioxide to bring about the warm temperatures of the Pliocene. As a result, the researchers estimate that Earth’s response to elevated concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide is 30 to 50 percent greater than previously calculated. In other words, the climate is more sensitive to carbon dioxide than we thought.
Ooh, those sneaks! They learned something!