PerspectiveATMOSPHERE

Call Off the Quest

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Science  26 Oct 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5850, pp. 582-583
DOI: 10.1126/science.1149988

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  1. Carbon dioxide-induced warming under two scenarios simulated by an ensemble of simple climate models.

    (Left) CO2 levels are stabilized in 2100 at 450 ppm; (right) the stabilization target is recomputed in 2050. Shading denotes the likelihood of a particular simulation based on goodness-of-fit to observations of recent surface and subsurface-ocean temperature trends (7, 8). Simulations are plotted in order of increasing likelihood, so worse-fitting models are obscured. The bar labeled “EQM” shows the models' likelihood against their long-term equilibrium warming at 450 ppm. How these likelihoods are translated into forecast probabilities is controversial, and the more asymmetric the likelihood function, the greater the scope for controversy.

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