On Climate Sensitivity

by Richard S. Lindzen, Ph.D.
with review assistance from Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D.

Editor’s Note
This is a superb paper to kick off the CO2 Coalition’s Climate Issues in Depth Series. The topic lies at the heart of the public policy debate over climate and energy, and the author is one of America’s most distinguished atmospheric physicists, MIT emeritus Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology Richard S. Lindzen.

Professor Lindzen has published over 200 scientific articles and books over a five-decade career. He has held professorships at the University of Chicago, Harvard University and MIT. He is a member of the National Academy of Science, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a fellow and award recipient of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union.  He is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was a lead author of the UN IPCC’s third assessment report’s scientific volume.

Since 1988, much of Professor Lindzen’s research has highlighted the scientific uncertainties about the impact of carbon dioxide emissions on temperature. He has published frequently on the crucial and uncertain impact of clouds on temperature “feedbacks” – processes which cause substantial hypothesized magnification of CO2-based warming in the models used by the IPCC.

Providing review assistance to Professor Lindzen for this paper was another distinguished atmospheric climatologist, Dr. Roy W. Spencer. Dr. Spencer is one of the primary inventors of the remarkable scientific enterprise of “remote sensing” of temperature, humidity, and other properties crucial to climate by satellites.  At his research professorship at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, he is both generator and guardian of satellite data relied upon by scientists and governmental bodies throughout the world.

The On Climate Sensitivity Press Release is available for download.

The paper is available for free download by following this link: On Climate Sensitivity 2nd Edition

NB: The following errors were corrected in the second edition, published June 8, 2020:

On page 5, ‘Planck’ is replaced by ‘Stefan-Boltzmann’.

On page 12, the caption for figure 6 is changed to The frequency distribution of of warming rates in climate models (gray bars) suggests the models are unrealistically warming about three times faster than observed in nature (red shading). Panel a is for the period 1993-2012; panel b is for the period 1998-2012.  Source: J.C. Fyfe et al., Overestimated Global Warming over the Past 20 Years, Nature Climate Change, 3 (2013), p. 767.