Modeling 20th and 21st Century Climate to Understand and Predict Change
Climate and Earth system modeling supported by USGCRP agencies such as DOE, NASA, NOAA, NSF, and others was foundational to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) on the scientific basis for climate-change, released in 2013. Along with international partners, Federal and Federally supported modeling centers contributed to Phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), a critically important information source for AR5 that focused on simulations of 20th and 21st century climate.
Research and Societally Relevant Outcomes
Modeling efforts like CMIP5 significantly advance our ability to predict (and thereby to plan for) changing climate conditions. Simulations of 20th century climate allow scientists to evaluate the accuracy of models by comparing results with climate observations, such as those supported by USGCRP. Simulations of 21st century climate form the foundation of climate change projections. CMIP5’s 21st century simulations were driven by greenhouse gas emissions scenarios produced through integrated assessment modeling (also supported by USGCRP agencies), which couples natural processes with an extensive set of infrastructure, land use, and socioeconomic information.
Scientists affiliated with and supported by USGCRP agencies analyzed the data produced by CMIP5, leading to the publication of articles that are extensively cited in scientific journals and the IPCC report. USGCRP agencies also held a workshop on the science and process of CMIP5 to inform future phases of the project. In addition to key presentations by researchers supported by DOD, DOE, NASA, NOAA, NSF, and USDA, the workshop included presentations from the NOAA CMIP5 Task Force, which organized a special collection of scientific papers in the Journal of Climate covering 20th and 21st century simulations of North American climate.
The following links provide additional information: cmip-pcmdi.llnl.gov/cmip5/ cpo.noaa.gov/MAPP/CMIP5TF