Lessons on climate sensitivity from past climate changes

A.S. von der Heydt, H.A. Dijkstra, R.S.W. van de Wal, R. Caballero, M. Crucifix, G.L. Foster, M. Huber, P. Kohler, E. Rohling, P.J. Valdes, P. Ashwin, S. Bathiany, T. Berends, L.G.J. van Bree, P. Ditlevsen, M. Ghil, A. Haywood, J.K. Katzav, G. Lohmann, J. LohmannV. Lucarini, A. Marzocchi, H. Palike, I. Ruvalcaba Baroni, D. Simon, A. Sluijs, L.B. Stap, A. Tantet, J. Viebahn, M. Ziegler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
119 Downloads (Pure)


Over the last decade, our understanding of climate sensitivity has improved considerably. The climate system shows variability on many timescales, is subject to non-stationary forcing and it is most likely out of equilibrium with the changes in the radiative forcing. Slow and fast feedbacks complicate the interpretation of geological records as feedback strengths vary over time. In the geological past, the forcing timescales were different than at present, suggesting that the response may have behaved differently. Do these insights constrain the climate sensitivity relevant for the present day? In this paper, we review the progress made in theoretical understanding of climate sensitivity and on the estimation of climate sensitivity from proxy records. Particular focus lies on the background state dependence of feedback processes and on the impact of tipping points on the climate system. We suggest how to further use palaeo data to advance our understanding of the currently ongoing climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-158
JournalCurrent Climate Change Reports
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Climate sensitivity
  • Climate tipping points
  • Palaeoclimate


Dive into the research topics of 'Lessons on climate sensitivity from past climate changes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this