By Nic Lewis
Plain language summary
- A new paper by Andrew Dessler et al. claims, based on 100 simulations of the historical period (1850 to date) by the MPI‑ESM1.1 climate model, that estimates of climate sensitivity using the energy-budget method can vary widely due to internal climate system variability.
- I calculated what effect the uncertainty implied by the internal variability affecting the MPI‑ESM1.1 simulations had on the distribution of the primary climate sensitivity estimate in the recent Lewis & Curry energy-budget paper.
- The result was a marginal narrowing of the Lewis & Curry sensitivity estimate. This is because the allowance for internal variability by Lewis & Curry is larger than internal variability in MPI‑ESM1.1.
- Since historical period energy-budget sensitivity estimates are much more imprecise for other reasons, internal variability contributes little to their total uncertainty; it is an unimportant factor.
- Nothing in the new Dessler et al. paper indicates that the Lewis & Curry energy-budget climate sensitivity estimates are likely to be biased low.