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Relationship between sea level and climate forcing by CO2 on geological timescales

Foster, Gavin; Rohling, Eelco

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On 103- to 106-year timescales, global sea level is determined largely by the volume of ice stored on land, which in turn largely reflects the thermal state of the Earth system. Here we use observations from five well-studied time slices covering the last 40 My to identify a well-defined and clearly sigmoidal relationship between atmospheric CO2 and sea level on geological (near-equilibrium) timescales. This strongly supports the dominant role of CO2 in determining Earth's climate on these...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorFoster, Gavin
dc.contributor.authorRohling, Eelco
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-13T22:38:12Z
dc.identifier.issn0027-8424
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/77448
dc.description.abstractOn 103- to 106-year timescales, global sea level is determined largely by the volume of ice stored on land, which in turn largely reflects the thermal state of the Earth system. Here we use observations from five well-studied time slices covering the last 40 My to identify a well-defined and clearly sigmoidal relationship between atmospheric CO2 and sea level on geological (near-equilibrium) timescales. This strongly supports the dominant role of CO2 in determining Earth's climate on these timescales and suggests that other variables that influence long-term global climate (e.g., topography, ocean circulation) play a secondary role. The relationship between CO2 and sea level we describe portrays the 'likely' (68% probability) long-term sea-level response after Earth system adjustment over many centuries. Because it appears largely independent of other boundary condition changes, it also may provide useful long-range predictions of future sea level. For instance, with CO2 stabilized at 400-450 ppm (as required for the frequently quoted 'acceptable warming' of 2 °C), or even at AD 2011 levels of 392 ppm, we infer a likely (68% confidence) long-term sea-level rise of more than 9 m above the present. Therefore, our results imply that to avoid significantly elevated sea level in the long term, atmospheric CO2 should be reduced to levels similar to those of preindustrial times.
dc.publisherNational Academy of Sciences (USA)
dc.rightsAuthor/s retain copyright
dc.sourcePNAS - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
dc.subjectKeywords: carbon dioxide; article; astronomy; geological time; global climate; priority journal; sea level
dc.titleRelationship between sea level and climate forcing by CO2 on geological timescales
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume110
dc.date.issued2013
local.identifier.absfor040605 - Palaeoclimatology
local.identifier.ariespublicationf5625xPUB6311
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationFoster, Gavin, National Oceanography Centre
local.contributor.affiliationRohling, Eelco, College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, ANU
local.bibliographicCitation.issue4
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage1209
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage1214
local.identifier.doi10.1073/pnas.1216073110/-/DCSupplemental
local.identifier.absseo960399 - Climate and Climate Change not elsewhere classified
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T09:28:33Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84872873132
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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