Research Theme 4: New scenarios and ESM projections

The RCPs used in CMIP5 allowed a number of policy-relevant assessments to be made in AR5, providing an important link across the three IPCC working groups (climate science, impacts-adaptation and mitigation). However, the RCPs did not refer to a detailed description of the socio-economic pathways by which each RCP might be realized, nor did they span a plausible range of future emissions for aerosols and other short-lived species. Furthermore, some inconsistencies exist in the RCPs between climate, land-use and anthropogenic, as well as natural emissions. A number of these shortcomings are planned to be addressed in a new generation of scenarios (Van Vuuren et al., 2013) targeted for CMIP6 (Meehl et al. 2014). Referred to as ScenarioMIP, this effort brings together scientists from Integrated Assessment Modeling (IAM), Earth System Modeling, climate impacts-adaptation and mitigation research to develop a set of policy-relevant emission scenarios sampling a range of plausible future development pathways. These will form the basis for a new set of ESM projections in CMIP6. CRESCENDO IAM teams will contribute to the development of this new scenario set and ensure the resulting data is suitable for forcing ESMs.

To increase the utility of ESM projections for climate impact assessment, a sufficient number of simulations are required so a degree of statistical significance can be assigned, both to the simulated Earth system changes and to the resulting impacts. To address this CRESCENDO will generate an ensemble of multi-ESM, multi-member, multi-scenario projections using 2 different resolution versions of the project ESMs (with the lower resolution version being computationally faster). CRESCENDO groups will ensure at least 2-resolution versions of their ESMs are available during the project.

  • Meehl, G. A., R. Moss, K. E. Taylor, V. Eyring, R. J. Stouffer, S. Bony, and B. Stevens (2014). Climate Model Intercomparison: Preparing for the Next Phase, Eos, Trans. AGU, 95(9), 77.
  • Van Vuuren, D.P. et al. (2013). A new scenario framework for Climate Change Research: scenario matrix architecture. Climatic Change, 122(3), 373-386.

RT4 members

CRESCENDO's RT4 members

    Jason Lowe
    RT4 leader

    Jason is Head of Mitigation Advice at the Met Office Hadley Centre and visiting Professor at the University of Reading. His research activities focus on better understanding the issue of potentially dangerous climate changes and the constraints on future pathways of emissions and climate change.

  • Detlef van Vururen
    RT4 leader
    PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), Netherlands
    Detlef van Vururen
    RT4 leader

    Detlef is a senior researcher at PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and a professor in Integrated Assessment of Global Environmental Change at the Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University. His research concentrates on response strategies to global environmental problems using integrated assessment models and other tools. As such, he participates as part of the IMAGE integrated assessment modelling team.

  • Keywan Riahi
    WP10 leader
    International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria
    Keywan Riahi
    WP10 leader

    Keywan’s main research interests are the long-term patterns of technological change and economic development and, in particular, the evolution of the energy system. His present research focuses on energy-related sources of global change, and on future development and response strategies for mitigating adverse environmental impacts, such as global warming and acidification.

  • Till Kuhlbrodt
    WP11 leader
    University of Reading (UREAD), UK
    Till Kuhlbrodt
    WP11 leader

    Till’s main research interests include: Earth System Model development, processes of ocean heat uptake and heat transport within the ocean and their representation in simple climate models, models of the ocean biogeochemistry, eddy-induced transports and wind-driven overturning cells in the Southern Ocean, dynamics of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) and its representation in coupled climate models, and the role of vertical mixing as a driver of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC).

    Ralf Döscher
    WP12 leader

    Ralf is responsible for global modelling activities and model development, the Swedish representative in ECRA (European Climate Research Initiative), and coordinator of the Swedish FORMAS projektet ADSIMNOR (Advanced Simulation of Arctic Climate Change and Impact on Northern Regions). His interests are on climate change, variability and predictability in the Arktic and Baltic Sea region, coupling and interaction between atmosphere, ocean and sea ice, and coordination and development of the regional coupled climate models RCAO.