Articles | Volume 11, issue 2
Earth Syst. Dynam., 11, 347–356, 2020
Earth Syst. Dynam., 11, 347–356, 2020

Research article 21 Apr 2020

Research article | 21 Apr 2020

Bayesian deconstruction of climate sensitivity estimates using simple models: implicit priors and the confusion of the inverse

James D. Annan and Julia C. Hargreaves

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Cited articles

Aldrin, M., Holden, M., Guttorp, P., Skeie, R. B., Myhre, G., and Berntsen, T. K.: Bayesian estimation of climate sensitivity based on a simple climate model fitted to observations of hemispheric temperatures and global ocean heat content, Environmetrics, 23, 253–271,, 2012. a, b
Annan, J. D. and Hargreaves, J. C.: Using multiple observationally-based constraints to estimate climate sensitivity, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L06704,, 2006. a, b, c, d, e, f
Annan, J. D. and Hargreaves, J. C.: On the generation and interpretation of probabilistic estimates of climate sensitivity, Climatic Change, 104, 423–436,, 2011. a, b, c
Annan, J. D. and Hargreaves, J. C.: A new global reconstruction of temperature changes at the Last Glacial Maximum, Clim.e Past, 9, 367–376,, 2013. a, b
Bernardo, J. and Smith, A.: Bayesian Theory, Wiley, Chichester, UK, 1994. a
Short summary
We explore the implicit assumptions that underlie many published probabilistic estimates of the equilibrium climate sensitivity – that is, the amount the climate will warm under a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. We demonstrate that many such estimates have made assumptions that would be difficult to justify and show how the calculations can be repeated in a more defensible manner. Our results show some significant differences from previous calculations.
Final-revised paper