Speaker: Prof. Stephan Fueglistaler, Princeton University
Title: The peculiar trajectory of global warming
Abstract: How much global warming due to fossil fuel burning should we expect? The climate sensitivity to increasing CO2 is difficult to measure directly, and estimates of expected global warming largely rely on climate model calculations. With now 40 years of satellite observations, the observational record may be sufficiently long and qualitatively high enough to constrain model results, in particular also the largest uncertainty: the cloud radiative feedback.
Unfortunately - or intriguingly - it appears that in this best observed period climate follows a peculiar trajectory that stands out compared to the previous ~100 years of the instrumental record, and to model projections of future climate. Open questions regarding the observed warming "hiatus", the "hot spot controversy" and the impact of clouds on climate sensitivity have a common denominator in the question what sets the tropical maximum surface moist static energy relative to the average.
Biography: Stephan Fueglistaler is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University and the Director of the Princeton Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS). His research focuses on atmospheric problems ranging from cloud microphysics, radiation to large-scale dynamics.