Mitigation of short-lived climate pollutants slows sea-level rise

Observed and simulated global mean surface temperature.

Observed and simulated global mean surface temperature.

TitleMitigation of short-lived climate pollutants slows sea-level rise
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsHu AX, Xu Y.Y, Tebaldi C., Washington W.M, Ramanathan V
JournalNature Climate Change
Date Published2013/08
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1758-678X
Accession NumberWOS:000324487400021
Keywordscarbon; emissions

Under present growth rates of greenhouse gas and black carbon aerosol emissions, global mean temperatures can warm by as much as 2 degrees C from pre-industrial temperatures by about 2050(1,2). Mitigation of the four short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), methane, tropospheric ozone, hydrofluorocarbons and black carbon, has been shown to reduce the warming trend by about 50% (refs 1,2) by 2050. Here we focus on the potential impact of this SLCP mitigation on global sea-level rise (SLR). The temperature projections under various SLCP scenarios simulated by an energy-balance climate model(1) are integrated with a semi-empirical SLR model(3), derived from past trends in temperatures and SLR, to simulate future trends in SLR. A coupled ocean-atmosphere climate model(4) is also used to estimate SLR trends due to just the ocean thermal expansion. Our results show that SLCP mitigation can have significant effects on SLR. It can decrease the SLR rate by 24-50% and reduce the cumulative SLR by 22-42% by 2100. If the SLCP mitigation is delayed by 25 years, the warming from pre-industrial temperature exceeds 2 degrees C by 2050 and the impact of mitigation actions on SLR is reduced by about a third.

Short TitleNat. Clim. Chang.

Mitigation of short-lived climate pollutants (methane, tropospheric ozone, hydrofluorocarbons, and black carbon) will not only reduce the overall global warming trend, but also decrease the rate of sea level rise. However, the benefit of mitigating those pollutants is reduced by about a third if the mitigation is delayed 25 years.

Integrated Research Themes: 
Student Publication: