Projecting Global Mean Sea-Level Change Using CMIP6 Models

Tim H.J. Hermans, Jonathan M. Gregory, Matthew D. Palmer, Mark A. Ringer, Caroline A. Katsman, Aimée B.A. Slangen

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Abstract

The effective climate sensitivity (EffCS) of models in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 6 (CMIP6) has increased relative to CMIP5. We explore the implications of this for global mean sea-level (GMSL) change projections in 2100 for three emissions scenarios. CMIP6 projections of global surface air temperature are substantially higher than in CMIP5, but projections of global mean thermal expansion are not. Using these projections as input to construct projections of GMSL change with IPCC AR5 methods, the 95th percentile of GMSL change at 2100 only increases by 3–7 cm. Projected rates of GMSL rise around 2100 increase more strongly, though, implying more pronounced differences beyond 2100 and greater committed sea-level rise. Intermodel differences in GMSL projections indicate that EffCS-based model selection may substantially alter the ensemble projections. GMSL change in 2100 is accurately predicted by time-integrated temperature change, and thus requires reducing emissions early to be mitigated.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GL092064
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume48
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • climate sensitivity
  • global climate models
  • global mean sea-level projections
  • global surface air temperature
  • global thermal expansion
  • twenty-first century

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