Project

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Towards impact-relevant climate projections based on the new CMIP5 global climate model simulations

Applicant Knutti Reto
Number 144332
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Atmosphäre und Klima ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy
Start/End 01.03.2013 - 31.07.2016
Approved amount 283'826.00
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Keywords (5)

projection uncertainty; climate scenarios; multi model ensembles; joint projections; internal climate variability

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Anpassungen an den Klimawandel profitieren von einer systematischen Abschätzung der Unsicherheiten in der vorausgesagten Klimaänderung. Mit dem Zusammenhang der grosskaligen Zirkulation und der Temperatur über Europa ist es möglich, regionale und kurzfristige Trends in der Temperatur zu erklären und die Übereinstimmung von Modellen und Beobachtungen für die anthropogen getriebene Erwärmung zu verbessern. Im zweiten Teil wurden untersucht, wie Beobachtungsdaten genutzt werden können um die Spannbreite der Klimamodelle einzugrenzen, und welche Grössen dafür geeignet sind. Es wurde gezeigt, dass nicht nur der mittlere Zustand sondern auch die Variabilität entscheidend sind für die Voraussagen von Extremereignissen, und dass oft die Beobachtungsdaten ein limitierender Faktor sind.
Lay summary

Towards impact-relevant climate projections based on the new CMIP5 global climate model simulations

 

Potential und Limitierung neuster Klimasimulationen für die Vorhersage der Auswirkungen des Klimawandels

Der fortschreitende Klimawandel verlangt nach gezielten Anpassungsszenarien um negative sozioökonomische und ökologische Auswirkungen zu minimieren. Für die Entwicklung solcher Anpassungsszenarien sind zuverlässige Klimavorhersagen für die kommenden Jahrzehnte auf nationaler oder sogar lokaler Skala eine zentrale Voraussetzung. Allerdings sind die Unsicherheiten der Klimavorhersagen ausgerechnet auf diesen vergleichsweise kurzen Zeitskalen und kleinen räumlichen Skalen besonders gross. Weiter sind die Auswirkungen zum Beispiel auf Energiesektor, Landwirtschaft oder Tourismus nicht nur abhängig von steigenden Temperaturen sondern von diversen anderer Klimavariablen wie Niederschlag, Luft und Bodenfeuchte, Sonneneinstrahlung, welche alle Unsicherheiten beinhalten.

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

Unser übergeordnetes Ziel ist das Potential und die Limitierungen modellbasierter Klimavorhersagen systematisch zu quantifizieren und damit eine wissenschaftliche Grundlage für gezieltere Anpassunsszenarien auf regionaler bis lokaler Skala zu schaffen. Das erste Teilprojekt wird systematisch die theoretischen Grenzen der Vorhersagbarkeit in Abhängigkeit der räumlichen und zeitlichen Skala aufzeigen. Das zweite Teilprojekt bietet die wissenschaftliche Grundlage für Vorhersagen von kombinierten Grössen welche direkt mit den Auswirkungen zusammenhängen unter gleichzeitiger Berücksichtigung der Unsicherheiten verschiedener Klimagrössen.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojekts

Die Erkenntnisse des Forschungsprojektes werden die Voraussetzungen für die Entwicklung von intelligenten Anpassungsszenarien schaffen und somit eine wissenschaftliche Grundlage für Entscheidungsträger in Politik und Wirtschaft bieten. Die Erkenntnisse werden in einfacher Weise für eine breite Öffentlichkeit aufbereitet und zugänglich gemacht.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 07.06.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Reconciling observed and modeled temperature and precipitation trends over Europe by adjusting for circulation variability
Saffioti Claudio, Fischer Erich M., Scherrer Simon C., Knutti Reto (2016), Reconciling observed and modeled temperature and precipitation trends over Europe by adjusting for circulation variability, in Geophysical Research Letters, 43(15), 8189-8198.
Anthropogenic contribution to global occurrence of heavy-precipitation and high-temperature extremes
Fischer E. M., Knutti R. (2015), Anthropogenic contribution to global occurrence of heavy-precipitation and high-temperature extremes, in Nature Climate Change, 5(6), 560-564.
Contributions of atmospheric circulation variability and data coverage bias to the warming hiatus
Saffioti Claudio, Fischer Erich M., Knutti Reto (2015), Contributions of atmospheric circulation variability and data coverage bias to the warming hiatus, in Geophysical Research Letters, 42(7), 2385-2391.
The influence of natural variability and interpolation errors on bias characterization in RCM simulations
Addor Nans, Fischer Erich (2015), The influence of natural variability and interpolation errors on bias characterization in RCM simulations, in Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 120(19), 180-10.
Detection of spatially aggregated changes in temperature and precipitation extremes
Fischer Erich M. (2014), Detection of spatially aggregated changes in temperature and precipitation extremes, in Knutti, Reto, 41(2), 547-554.
Models agree on forced response pattern of precipitation and temperature extremes
Fischer E. M., Sedláček J., Hawkins E., Knutti R. (2014), Models agree on forced response pattern of precipitation and temperature extremes, in Geophysical Research Letters, 41(23), 8554-8562.
Natural variability, radiative forcing and climate response in the recent hiatus reconciled
Huber Markus, Knutti Reto (2014), Natural variability, radiative forcing and climate response in the recent hiatus reconciled, in Nature Geoscience, 7(9), 651-656.
Robust spatially aggregated projections of climate extremes
Fischer Erich M., Beyerle Urs, Knutti Reto (2013), Robust spatially aggregated projections of climate extremes, in Nature Climate change, 3(12), 1033-1038.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
National Center for Atmospheric Research United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Colorado State Univiersity United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
European Geophysical Union (EGU) General Assembly 2016 Talk given at a conference Potential for constraining in the presence of large natural variability 17.04.2016 Wien, Austria Borodina Aleksandra;
CLIVAR/ICTP Workshop Talk given at a conference Towards impact-relevant climate projections: the challenge of internal variability 16.11.2015 Trieste, Italy Saffioti Claudio;
14th Swiss Climate Summer School – "Extreme events and climate” Poster Emergent constraints in climate projections: a case study of changes in high latitude temperature variability 28.08.2015 Ascona, Switzerland Borodina Aleksandra;
Workshop on Uncertainty Quantification in Climate Modeling and Projection Poster Emergent constraints in climate projections: a case study of changes in high latitude temperature variability 13.07.2015 Trieste, Italy Borodina Aleksandra;
CH2018 Workshop on Swiss Climate Change Scenarios Talk given at a conference Atmospheric circulation effects on temperature 02.07.2015 Zürich, Switzerland Saffioti Claudio;
European Geophysical Union (EGU) General Assembly 2015 Talk given at a conference The contribution of atmospheric circulation and coverage bias to the warming hiatus 12.04.2015 Wien, Austria Saffioti Claudio;
European Geophysical Union (EGU) General Assembly 2015 Poster Emergent constraints in climate projections: a case study of changes in high latitude temperature variability 12.04.2015 Wien, Austria Borodina Aleksandra;
Swiss Global Change Day 2015 Poster Contributions of atmospheric circulation variability and data coverage bias to the warming hiatus 01.04.2015 Bern, Switzerland Saffioti Claudio;
European Geophysical Union (EGU) General Assembly 2014 Poster The warming hole as an internal climate variability phenomenon? 27.04.2014 Wien, Austria Saffioti Claudio;
NCAS Climate Modelling Summer School Poster The warming hole as an internal climate variability phenomenon 08.09.2013 Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Saffioti Claudio;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: radio, television Dozens of interviews and hundreds of media contributions by PI Knutti and co-PI Fischer Western Switzerland International Italian-speaking Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions The PI Knutti and co-PI Fischer give dozens of public talks at schools, private companies, museums International Western Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland 2015

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
119952 Quantifying climate change uncertainty from the CMIP3 ensemble of global coupled climate models 01.04.2008 Project funding (Div. I-III)
178778 Understanding and quantifying the occurrence of very rare climate extremes in a changing climate 01.12.2018 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Adaptation to ongoing climate change is vital to reduce negative impacts and to take advantage of opportunities, and adaptation benefits from projections of future climate change with robust uncertainty estimates. This project will systematically assess the potential and limitations of a new set of global climate model simulations and a large initial condition ensemble of regional model simulations to provide impact-relevant climate information at regional to local scale for the coming decades. While climate model uncertainty is widely recognized as being important and is partly quantified using multiple models, the role of internal unforced climate variability (which can be dominant on regional to local scales for some variables) and the relationships across variables have received little attention. The first subproject will quantify and evaluate the simulated internal climate variability for different locations, timescales, and spatial scales, compare internal variability in unforced and forced simulations and will quantify the forced signals in climate extremes and uncertainty ranges induced by internal variability. The second subproject will focus on relationships across multiple variables (e.g. temperature and precipitation) and variables that combine multiple quantities (e.g. heat stress indicators combining temperature and humidity). It will evaluate the model performance in joint variability in present-day conditions, relate this to the projected changes in multiple variables and explore possible observational constraints on projections. Finally, it will focus on the uncertainty in combined variables and joint projections. The project will yield systematic insight into the temporal and spatial scales for which internal variability is most relevant, and provide methods to combine projections from multiple models that (unlike averaging) maintain the information of variability. It will identify variables, scales and regions where relationships between variables exist in principal, test whether they can constrain future projections, help in deciding for which cases the desired climate model projections of joint variables are feasible, and quantify uncertainties in impact relevant combined quantities when they are much smaller or much larger than expected from considering the uncertainties in the individual variables alone. Together, the project will lead to a better understanding of the processes that determine the magnitudes and timescales of internal variability, how different variables are related. It will contribute to the evaluation of a new set of climate models which, ultimately, will feed back into the model development process. In a broader sense, the results will provide important guidance for public authorities or private companies for adaptation by quantifying uncertainties in climate projections. The proposed project will strongly emphasize the communication of the results and involves a strong potential to trigger new high-impact research that is visible even outside the science community.
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