CONSTRAIN’s knowledge gains on the role of the ocean in setting the transient climate sensitivity have now been published.
The report explains how the ocean plays a key role in setting the climate response to cumulative emissions (or how the temperature changes with each tonne of CO2 emitted).
This is thanks to its capacity to absorb heat and carbon from the atmosphere, also known as the “ocean heat-carbon nexus”, which governs the future response of the ocean to rising CO2 (and other) emissions. Improving how this process is represented in simple climate models increases global mean surface warming by about 0.1-0.2°C in future projections, which could have significant implications for emissions pathways and the policies that are based on them.
The report also maps possible future research in this area, including on the regional and global climate response to reaching zero emissions.