A new climate dataset for systematic assessments of climate change impacts as a function of global warming uri icon

abstract

  • In the ongoing political debate on climate change, global mean temperature change (Delta T-glob) has become the yardstick by which mitigation costs, impacts from unavoided climate change, and adaptation requirements are discussed. For a scientifically informed discourse along these lines, systematic assessments of climate change impacts as a function of Delta T-glob are required. The current availability of climate change scenarios constrains this type of assessment to a narrow range of temperature change and/or a reduced ensemble of climate models. Here, a newly composed dataset of climate change scenarios is presented that addresses the specific requirements for global assessments of climate change impacts as a function of Delta T-glob. A pattern-scaling approach is applied to extract generalised patterns of spatially explicit change in temperature, precipitation and cloudiness from 19 Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models (AOGCMs). The patterns are combined with scenarios of global mean temperature increase obtained from the reduced-complexity climate model MAGICC6 to create climate scenarios covering warming levels from 1.5 to 5 degrees above pre-industrial levels around the year 2100. The patterns are shown to sufficiently maintain the original AOGCMs' climate change properties, even though they, necessarily, utilise a simplified relationships between Delta T-glob and changes in local climate properties. The dataset (made available online upon final publication of this paper) facilitates systematic analyses of climate change impacts as it covers a wider and finer-spaced range of climate change scenarios than the original AOGCM simulations.

publication date

  • 2013
  • 2012