Comment on ''the impact of recent forcing and ocean heat uptake data on estimates of climate sensitivity''

Kevin Cowtan*, Peter Jacobs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 2018, Lewis and Curry presented a method for estimating the transient climate response (TCR) of the climate system from the temperature change between two time windows: an early baseline period in the nineteenth century and a modern period primarily in the twenty-first century. The results suggest a lower value of TCR than estimates from climate model simulations. Previous studies have identified uncertainty in the historical forcings, the impact of the time evolution of the forcing on temperature response, and observational issues as contributory factors to this disagreement. We investigate a further factor: uncertainty in the bias corrections applied to historical sea surface temperature data. This uncertainty can particularly affect the estimation of variables on decadal time scales and therefore affect the estimation of TCR using the window method as well as estimates of internal variability. We demonstrate that use of the whole historical record can mitigate the impacts of working with short time windows to some extent, particularly with respect to the early part of the record.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-396
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number1
Early online date12 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

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