Status: this preprint is open for discussion.
ESD Ideas: Arctic Amplification’s Contribution to Breaches of the Paris Agreement
Abstract. The Arctic is warming at almost four times the global average rate. Here we reframe this amplified Arctic warming in terms of global climate ambition to show that it causes a breach of the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 °C and 2 °C limits 5 and 8 years earlier, respectively. This outsized influence on global climate targets highlights the need for better modelling and monitoring of Arctic change.
Alistair Duffey et al.
Status: open (until 20 Jun 2023)
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- RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-810', Anonymous Referee #1, 10 May 2023 reply
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- CC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-810', Alek Petty, 25 May 2023 reply
Alistair Duffey et al.
Alistair Duffey et al.
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Latest update: 07 Jun 2023
The manuscript presents a modeling analysis of the projected period when global temperatures on average will exceed the Paris Agreement thresholds of 1.5 of 2.0°C including and excluding the contribution of Arctic amplification using the CMIP6 surface temperature projection archive. Based on the analysis, the authors conclude that Arctic amplification accelerates crossing the Paris Agreement thresholds 5 (for 1.5°C) and 8 (2.0°C) years with some uncertainty based on the emissions scenario. The authors argue given the important contribution of accelerated Arctic warming to the rate of global warming trends, it is important to improve our coverage and accuracy of Arctic observations for a better forecast of the timing of crossing the Paris Agreement thresholds.
I thought that the analysis was well done, and I found compelling. However, I am somewhat confused about the goal of the study. I agree what the authors conclude that “the importance of accurate surface temperature observations in the region (poleward of 66°N).” But not sure that when the global temperature thresholds of the Paris Agreement is the best example for making this argument. The conclusion that the Arctic has an outsize role in the magnitude of global warming is almost a trivial conclusion since it is obvious given that the Arctic is warming quadrupole the rate of the rest of the globe. Similarly, regions that are warming the least or even cooling are delaying the period when the Paris Agreement thresholds will be reached. Also, this analysis now has me questioning what is societally more relevant as a threshold, the full global average temperature or a more limited global average that excludes the Arctic that accelerates achieving and surpassing the Paris Agreement thresholds. I wonder if a more relevant use of the analysis is to argue how the accelerated Arctic warming leads to more rapid changes in the Arctic and even better how this leads to more rapid changes across the population centers of the Northern Hemisphere.
In summary, I thought that this was a well-executed study and that the results are correct. What I struggle with is the importance of highlighting that Arctic amplification will accelerate crossing the Paris Agreement temperature thresholds that is an obvious and therefore maybe trivial result and conclusion. And I wonder making a different point with the same analysis that is less obvious might be of more societally relevance. For example, because the Arctic is warming so much faster than the rest of the globe, maybe the Paris Agreement thresholds that are global averages understate the risk and hazard of the accepted temperature thresholds because certain regions, best exemplified by the Arctic, which are warming up to four times the rest of the globe are not represented or captured by the global averages. Or alternatively how much warmer are the projections of the Arctic region are than the rest of the globe at the 1.5 of 2.0°C global average thresholds.
Otherwise, I have no other additional comments below and I recommend that the manuscript be accepted pending minor revisions.