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K. Kvale, K. Zickfeld, T. Bruckner, K. J. Meissner, K. Tanaka, and A. J. Weaver

Abstract

Anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases could lead to undesirable effects on oceans in coming centuries. Drawing on recommendations published by the German Advisory Council on Global Change, levels of unacceptable global marine change (so-called guardrails) are defined in terms of global mean temperature, sea level rise, and ocean acidification. A global-mean climate model [the Aggregated Carbon Cycle, Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Model (ACC2)] is coupled with an economic module [taken from the Dynamic Integrated Climate–Economy Model (DICE)] to conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis to derive CO2 emission pathways that both minimize abatement costs and are compatible with these guardrails. Additionally, the “tolerable windows approach” is used to calculate a range of CO2 emissions paths that obey the guardrails as well as a restriction on mitigation rate. Prospects of meeting the global mean temperature change guardrail (2° and 0.2°C decade−1 relative to preindustrial) depend strongly on assumed values for climate sensitivity: at climate sensitivities >3°C the guardrail cannot be attained under any CO2 emissions reduction strategy without mitigation of non-CO2 greenhouse gases. The ocean acidification guardrail (0.2 unit pH decline relative to preindustrial) is less restrictive than the absolute temperature guardrail at climate sensitivities >2.5°C but becomes more constraining at lower climate sensitivities. The sea level rise and rate of rise guardrails (1 m and 5 cm decade−1) are substantially less stringent for ice sheet sensitivities derived in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, but they may already be committed to violation if ice sheet sensitivities consistent with semiempirical sea level rise projections are assumed.

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J. Boutin, Y. Chao, W. E. Asher, T. Delcroix, R. Drucker, K. Drushka, N. Kolodziejczyk, T. Lee, N. Reul, G. Reverdin, J. Schanze, A. Soloviev, L. Yu, J. Anderson, L. Brucker, E. Dinnat, A. Santos-Garcia, W. L. Jones, C. Maes, T. Meissner, W. Tang, N. Vinogradova, and B. Ward

Abstract

Remote sensing of salinity using satellite-mounted microwave radiometers provides new perspectives for studying ocean dynamics and the global hydrological cycle. Calibration and validation of these measurements is challenging because satellite and in situ methods measure salinity differently. Microwave radiometers measure the salinity in the top few centimeters of the ocean, whereas most in situ observations are reported below a depth of a few meters. Additionally, satellites measure salinity as a spatial average over an area of about 100 × 100 km2. In contrast, in situ sensors provide pointwise measurements at the location of the sensor. Thus, the presence of vertical gradients in, and horizontal variability of, sea surface salinity complicates comparison of satellite and in situ measurements. This paper synthesizes present knowledge of the magnitude and the processes that contribute to the formation and evolution of vertical and horizontal variability in near-surface salinity. Rainfall, freshwater plumes, and evaporation can generate vertical gradients of salinity, and in some cases these gradients can be large enough to affect validation of satellite measurements. Similarly, mesoscale to submesoscale processes can lead to horizontal variability that can also affect comparisons of satellite data to in situ data. Comparisons between satellite and in situ salinity measurements must take into account both vertical stratification and horizontal variability.

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