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Reining in the upper bound on Earth’s Climate Sensitivities

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 highECS project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the highECS project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "highECS" about.

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Project "highECS" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: 10691

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Sweden [SE]
 Total cost 1˙998˙653 €
 EC max contribution 1˙998˙653 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2017-COG
 Funding Scheme ERC-COG
 Starting year 2018
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2018-09-01   to  2023-08-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    STOCKHOLMS UNIVERSITET SE (STOCKHOLM) coordinator 1˙998˙653.00


 Project objective

One of the greatest recent advances in climate science is that it is now beyond reasonable doubt that human activity is warming the Earth. The next natural question is by how much the Earth will warm for a given emission – a quantity that will be essential to regulating global warming. Yet, the likely range of 1.5-4.5 K for equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) for a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration has not been reduced for decades. In particular the risk of ECS being high is concerning, but also represents a scientifically intriguing challenge.

In this project I will conduct unconventional and innovative research designed to limit the upper bound of ECS: I will confront leading hypotheses of extreme cloud feedbacks – the primary potential source of a high ECS – with observations from the full instrumental- and satellite records, and proxies from warm- and cold past climates. I will investigate how ocean- and atmospheric circulations impact cloud feedbacks, and seek the limits for how much past greenhouse warming could have been masked by aerosol cooling.

The highECS project builds on my developments of climate modeling, diagnostics and statistical methods, the strengths of the host institution and developments in national and international projects. The effort is timely in that the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) has identified uncertainty in ECS as one of the grand challenges of climate science, while the capacity to observe ongoing climate change, key cloud processes, extracting new proxy evidence of past change and computing power is greater than ever before.

If successful in my objective of reining in the upper bound on climate sensitivity this will be a major breakthrough upon a nearly 40-year scientific deadlock and reduce the risk of catastrophic climate change – if not, it will indicate that extreme policy measures may be needed to curb future global warming. Either way, the economic value of knowing is tremendous.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 M. H. Retsch, T. Mauritsen, C. Hohenegger
Climate Change Feedbacks in Aquaplanet Experiments With Explicit and Parametrized Convection for Horizontal Resolutions of 2,525 Up to 5 km
published pages: 2070-2088, ISSN: 1942-2466, DOI: 10.1029/2019ms001677
Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 11/7 2020-04-24
2019 Dirk Olonscheck, Thorsten Mauritsen, Dirk Notz
Arctic sea-ice variability is primarily driven by atmospheric temperature fluctuations
published pages: 430-434, ISSN: 1752-0894, DOI: 10.1038/s41561-019-0363-1
Nature Geoscience 12/6 2020-04-24
2020 Maria Rugenstein, Jonah Bloch‐Johnson, Jonathan Gregory, Timothy Andrews, Thorsten Mauritsen, Chao Li, Thomas L. Frölicher, David Paynter, Gokhan Danabasoglu, Shuting Yang, Jean‐Louis Dufresne, Long Cao, Gavin A. Schmidt, Ayako Abe‐Ouchi, Olivier Geoffroy, Reto Knutti
Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity Estimated by Equilibrating Climate Models
published pages: , ISSN: 0094-8276, DOI: 10.1029/2019gl083898
Geophysical Research Letters 47/4 2020-04-24
2019 Tim Rohrschneider, Bjorn Stevens, Thorsten Mauritsen
On simple representations of the climate response to external radiative forcing
published pages: 3131-3145, ISSN: 0930-7575, DOI: 10.1007/s00382-019-04686-4
Climate Dynamics 53/5-6 2020-04-24
2020 N. Bellouin, J. Quaas, E. Gryspeerdt, S. Kinne, P. Stier, D. Watson‐Parris, O. Boucher, K. S. Carslaw, M. Christensen, A.‐L. Daniau, J.‐L. Dufresne, G. Feingold, S. Fiedler, P. Forster, A. Gettelman, J. M. Haywood, U. Lohmann, F. Malavelle, T. Mauritsen, D. T. McCoy, G. Myhre, J. Mülmenstädt, D. Neubauer, A. Possner, M. Rugenstein, Y. Sato, M. Schulz, S. E. Schwartz, O. Sourdeval, T. Store
Bounding Global Aerosol Radiative Forcing of Climate Change
published pages: , ISSN: 8755-1209, DOI: 10.1029/2019rg000660
Reviews of Geophysics 58/1 2020-04-24
2019 Thorsten Mauritsen, Jürgen Bader, Tobias Becker, Jörg Behrens, Matthias Bittner, Renate Brokopf, Victor Brovkin, Martin Claussen, Traute Crueger, Monika Esch, Irina Fast, Stephanie Fiedler, Dagmar Fläschner, Veronika Gayler, Marco Giorgetta, Daniel S. Goll, Helmuth Haak, Stefan Hagemann, Christopher Hedemann, Cathy Hohenegger, Tatiana Ilyina, Thomas Jahns, Diego Jimenéz‐de‐la‐Cuesta, Joh
Developments in the MPI‐M Earth System Model version 1.2 (MPI‐ESM1.2) and Its Response to Increasing CO 2
published pages: 998-1038, ISSN: 1942-2466, DOI: 10.1029/2018ms001400
Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 11/4 2020-04-24
2019 Diego Jiménez-de-la-Cuesta, Thorsten Mauritsen
Emergent constraints on Earth’s transient and equilibrium response to doubled CO2 from post-1970s global warming
published pages: 902-905, ISSN: 1752-0894, DOI: 10.1038/s41561-019-0463-y
Nature Geoscience 12/11 2020-04-24
2020 Norman G. Loeb, Hailan Wang, Richard P. Allan, Timothy Andrews, Kyle Armour, Jason N. S. Cole, Jean‐Louis Dufresne, Piers Forster, Andrew Gettelman, Huan Guo, Thorsten Mauritsen, Yi Ming, David Paynter, Cristian Proistosescu, Malte F. Stuecker, Ulrika Willén, Klaus Wyser
New Generation of Climate Models Track Recent Unprecedented Changes in Earth\'s Radiation Budget Observed by CERES
published pages: , ISSN: 0094-8276, DOI: 10.1029/2019gl086705
Geophysical Research Letters 47/5 2020-04-24
2020 Gabor Drotos, Tobias Becker, Thorsten Mauritsen, Bjorn Stevens
Global variability in radiative-convective equilibrium with a slab ocean under a wide range of CO 2 concentrations
published pages: 1-19, ISSN: 1600-0870, DOI: 10.1080/16000870.2019.1699387
Tellus A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography 72/1 2020-04-24
2019 C. Kodama, B. Stevens, T. Mauritsen, T. Seiki, M. Satoh
A New Perspective for Future Precipitation Change from Intense Extratropical Cyclones
published pages: 12435-12444, ISSN: 0094-8276, DOI: 10.1029/2019gl084001
Geophysical Research Letters 46/21 2020-04-24

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