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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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doi:10.5194/esd-2016-40
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
16 Sep 2016
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD).
On determining the Point of no Return in Climate Change
Brenda C. van Zalinge, Qing Yi Feng, and Henk A. Dijkstra Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
Abstract. Earth's Global Mean Surface Temperature (GMST) has increased by about 1.0 °C over the period 1880–2015. One of the main causes is thought to be the increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs). If GHG emissions are not substantially decreased, several studies indicate there will be a dangerous anthropogenic interference (DAI) with climate by the end of this century. However, there is no good quantitative measure to determine when it is "too late" to start reducing GHGs in order to avoid DAI. In this study, we develop a method for determining a so-called Point of No Return (PNR) for several GHG emission scenarios. The method is based on a combination of stochastic viability theory and uses linear response theory to estimate the probability density function of the GMST. The innovative element in this approach is the applicability to high-dimensional climate models as is demonstrated by results obtained with the PLASIM climate model.

Citation: van Zalinge, B. C., Feng, Q. Y., and Dijkstra, H. A.: On determining the Point of no Return in Climate Change, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., doi:10.5194/esd-2016-40, in review, 2016.
Brenda C. van Zalinge et al.
Brenda C. van Zalinge et al.
Brenda C. van Zalinge et al.

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Short summary
The increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs) is one of the main causes to increase Global Mean Surface Temperature. There is no good quantitative measure to determine when it is "too late" to start reducing GHGs in order to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference. In this study, we develop a method for determining a so-called Point of No Return (PNR) for several GHG emission scenarios. The innovative element in this approach is the applicability to high-dimensional climate models.
The increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs) is one of the main causes to increase Global...
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