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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-153
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-153
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: model experiment description paper 28 Jun 2019

Submitted as: model experiment description paper | 28 Jun 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD) and is expected to appear here in due course.

The Zero Emission Commitment Model Intercomparison Project (ZECMIP) contribution to CMIP6: Quantifying committed climate changes following zero carbon emissions

Chris D. Jones1, Thomas L. Frölicher2,3, Charles Koven4, Andrew H. MacDougall5, H. Damon Matthews6, Kirsten Zickfeld7, Joeri Rogelj8,9, Katarzyna B. Tokarska10, Nathan Gillett11, Tatiana Ilyina12, Malte Meinshausen13,14, Nadine Mengis7, Roland Seferian15, and Michael Eby16 Chris D. Jones et al.
  • 1Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, EX1 3PB, UK
  • 2Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern, Bern, 3012, Switzerland
  • 3Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Bern, 3012, Switzerland
  • 4Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
  • 5St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, B2G 2W5, Canada
  • 6Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, H3G 1M8, Canada
  • 7Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, V5A 1S6, Canada
  • 8International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), 2361 Laxenburg, Austria
  • 9Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, UK
  • 10School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH9 3FF, UK
  • 11Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Victoria, BC, V8W 2Y2, Canada
  • 12Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Bundesstraße 53,20146 Hamburg, Germany
  • 13Climate & Energy College, School of Earth Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville 3010, Victoria, Australia
  • 14Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Telegraphenberg, 14412 Potsdam, Germany
  • 15Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques (CNRM), Université de Toulouse, Météo-France, CNRS, Toulouse, France
  • 16School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, V8W 2Y2, Canada

Abstract. The amount of additional future temperature change following a complete cessation of CO2 emissions is a measure of the unrealized warming to which we are committed due to CO2 already emitted to the atmosphere. This "Zero Emissions Commitment" (ZEC) is also an important quantity when estimating the remaining carbon budget – a limit on the total amount of CO2 emissions consistent with limiting global mean temperature at a particular level. In the recent IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C, the carbon budget framework used to calculate the remaining carbon budget for 1.5 °C included the assumption that the ZEC due to CO2 emissions is negligible and close to zero. Previous research has shown significant uncertainty even in the sign of the ZEC. To close this knowledge gap, we propose the Zero Emissions Commitment Model Intercomparison Project (ZECMIP), which will quantify the amount of unrealized temperature change that occurs after CO2 emissions cease and investigate the geophysical drivers behind this climate response. Quantitative information on ZEC is a key gap in our knowledge, and one that will not be addressed by currently planned CMIP6 simulations, yet it is crucial for verifying whether carbon budgets need to be adjusted to account for any unrealized temperature change resulting from past CO2 emissions. We request only one top priority simulation from comprehensive general circulation Earth System Models (ESMs) and Earth System Models of Intermediate Complexity (EMICs) – a branch from the 1 % CO2 run with CO2 emissions set to zero at the point of 1000 PgC of total CO2 emissions in the simulation – with the possibility for additional simulations, if resources allow. ZECMIP is part of CMIP6, under joint sponsorship by C4MIP and CDRMIP, with associated experiment names to enable data submissions to Earth System Grid Federation. All data will be published and made freely available.

Chris D. Jones et al.
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Chris D. Jones et al.
Chris D. Jones et al.
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Short summary
Global warming is related simply to the total emission of CO2 allowing us to define a carbon "budget". However, information on the Zero Emissions Commitment is a key missing link to assess remaining carbon budgets to achieve the climate targets of the Paris Agreement. It was therefore decided that a small targeted MIP activity to fill this knowledge gap would be extremely valuable. This manuscript formalises the experimental design alongside the other CMIP6 documentation papers.
Global warming is related simply to the total emission of CO2 allowing us to define a carbon...
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