Reto Knutti

Research highlights

The 2°C climate target and COP in Paris 

Humans affect extreme weather 

Has global warming stopped? 

IPCC AR5, and how to slice the global carbon pie 

Ocean eddies influence weather 

On the way to four, not two degrees 

Climate models: useful or useless? 

The others should do something first… 

Enlarged view: infras

In a joint report with INFRAS we consider the implications of different burden sharing approaches for different countries in a scenario where greenhouse gases are reduced globally to reach the 2°C target. The interpretation of “common but differentiated responsibility” of course varies in the different burden sharing proposals, but developed countries will have to reduce emissions quickly in all cases. 
DownloadEmission pathways to reach 2°C target (PDF, 988 KB)

At least three quarters of warming since 1950 manmade

Is two degrees warming still possible? 

Swiss climate change scenarios CH2011

Tropics feel the heat

Which climate model prediction should I trust? 

Enlarged view: 2 degree target

A new study shows that only a small fraction of the fossil fuel reserves can be burnt if a warming of two degrees above preindustrial should be avoided. Peak and equilibrium warming are determined by the total emitted carbon; a tonne of carbon is a tonne of carbon, whether today or in fifty years. Emissions must peak soon and be reduced be at least 50% globally in 2050 to avoid two degree warming.
DownloadNature paper: Greenhouse-gas emission targets for limiting global warming to 2°C (PDF, 2.8 MB)
DownloadCompanion Nature paper: Warming caused by cumulative carbon emissions towards the trillionth tonne (PDF, 838 KB)
DownloadRelated commentary by the authors: The exit strategy (PDF, 329 KB)
DownloadNature News and Views: Too much of a bad thing (PDF, 1.5 MB)
DownloadNature Editorial: Time to act (PDF, 1 MB)
DownloadRelated essay: The worst-case scenario (PDF, 1.1 MB)
DownloadRelated commentary: Overshoot, adapt and recover (PDF, 2.1 MB)
external pageBBC: 'Safe' climate means 'no to coal'
external pageScientific American: How Much Is Too Much?: Estimating Greenhouse Gas Emissions
ETH Life: How the “2°C target” can be reached
external pageNZZ: Was zählt, ist die kumulierte Menge Kohlendioxid
ETH Life: Wie das «2°C-Ziel» erreicht werden kann
external page20 Minuten: Klimawandel erreicht kritischen Wert
external pageSF Tagesschau: Studie mahnt zu dringendem Klimaschutz
external pageSpiegel Online: Kritische Klimagrenze ist nur noch schwer zu erreichen

The 2008 Olympics as an aerosol field experiment 

Irreversible climate change

Research interests

My research interests are the changes in the global climate system caused by the growing emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. I use numerical models of different complexity, from simple energy balance to three-dimensional coupled climate models that resolve the atmosphere, ocean, land, sea ice and their interactions. In particular, I work on simulation of scenarios for future climate change, the quantification of uncertainties in the climate response, and the development of methods to constrain important feedback processes in the climate system by comparing observations with model results.

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