Monitoring, Modeling, and Forecasting

    80 percent of world climate data are not computerized and readily available

    Science Daily, July 20, 2011. In order to gain a better knowledge of climate variations, such as those caused by global warming, and be able to tackle them, we need to understand what happened in the recent past. This is the conclusion of a research study led by the Rovira i Virgili University (URV), which shows that the scientific community today is only able to access and analyze 20% of the recorded climate information held. The remaining data are not accessible in digital format.

    A probabilistic view on recent and near future climate change in Sweden

    J. Räisänen, H. Alexandersson. Tellus: Series A (2003) 55:113-125. The decade 1991-2000 was warm and wet in Sweden, with 10-station mean temperature 0.8°C above and 20-station mean precipitation 6% above the mean for 1961-1990. The authors study the question if such changes should be seen as a symptom of anthropogenic climate change or if they might be of purely natural origin.

    A vast machine: Computer models, climate data, and the politics of global warming

    P.N. Edwards, MIT Press, 2010, 518 pages. Paul Edwards documents the evolution of a broad scientific field that began with the curiosity of a few 19th-century explorers and scholars and now spans a worldwide community of scientists, engineers, and other specialists working with huge quantities of data, immensely complex computer models, and many sophisticated instruments and measurement platforms. (PDF, 101.3 KB)

    Arctic climate impact assessment: Scientific report

    The ACIA Scientific Report (2005) is the first comprehensive, integrated assessment of climate change and ultraviolet (UV) radiation across the entire Arctic region. The intended audience is the international scientific community, including researchers and directors of research programs. See here a video from the C-Span Video Library (November 8, 2004) where scientists talk to reporters at the National Press Club about the ACIA report [1:42:04 min]. Read a review of the report by New York Times climate writer Andrew Revkin. See also PBS' review, which includes a link to a teacher resource.

    Biodiversity: Climate change and the ecologist

    W. Thuiller. Nature (2007) 448:550-552. The evidence for rapid climate change now seems overwhelming. Global temperatures are predicted to rise by up to 4°C by 2100, with associated alterations in precipitation patterns. Assessing the consequences for biodiversity, and how they might be mitigated, is a grand challenge in ecology.

    Building sustainable regional climate information systems

    R.M. Güingla. Climate Research (2011) 47(1-2):41-45. Regionally oriented services will be key elements within the proposed Global Framework of Climate Services, the main outcome of World Climate Conference-3. Regional services may be substantially different from both global and national climate services. This paper elaborates on some of the conditions necessary to develop and deliver sustainable regional climate information systems and services. (PDF, 75.5 MB)

    Built for stability

    P. Valdes. Nature Geoscience (2011) 4(7):414-416. State-of-the-art climate models are largely untested against actual occurrences of abrupt change. It is a huge leap of faith to assume that simulations of the coming century with these models will provide reliable warning of sudden, catastrophic events.

    CAM3 bias over the Arctic region during northern winter studied with a linear stationary model

    R. Grotjahn et al. Climate Dynamics (2011) 37(3-4):631-645. This study builds upon two prior papers that examine Arctic region bias of CAM3 (NCAR Community Atmosphere Model version 3) simulations during winter. CAM3 output is compared with ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) 40 year reanalysis (ERA-40) data.

    Can scientists look at next year's climate?

    Science Daily, September 13, 2011. UCLA atmospheric scientists report they have now made long-term climate forecasts that are among the best ever -- predicting climate up to 16 months in advance, nearly twice the length of time previously achieved by climate scientists.

    Climate model genealogy

    D. Masson, R. Knutti. Geophysical Research Letters (2011) 38:doi:10.1029/2011GL046864. Findings provide insight into intermodel relationships, into how models evolve through successive generations, and suggest that assuming model independence in such ensembles of opportunity is not justified.

    Climate science: Elusive extremes

    G.C. Hegerl et al. Nature Geoscience (2011) 4(3):142-143. Extreme climate events can cause widespread damage and have been projected to become more frequent as the world warms. Yet as discussed at an interdisciplinary workshop, it is often not clear which extremes matter the most, and how and why they are changing.

    Coordinated approaches to quantify long-term ecosystem dynamics in response to global change

    Y. Luo et al. Global Change Biology (2011) 17(2):843-854. Many serious ecosystem consequences of climate change will take decades or even centuries to emerge. Future research programs with coordinated long-term experiments, process studies, and modeling have the potential to be the most effective strategy to gain the best information on long-term ecosystem dynamics in response to global change.

    Data rescue initiatives: Bringing historical climate data into the 21st century

    M. Brunet, P. Jones. Climate Research (2011) 47(1-2):29-40. The currently limited availability of long and high-quality surface instrumental climate records continues to hamper our ability to carry out more robust assessments of the climate. Such assessments are needed to better understand, detect, predict and respond to global climate variability and change. The present paper discusses the usefulness of undertaking integrated data rescue (DARE) activities by showing several climate assessments as examples. (PDF, 1.76 MB)

    Discriminating between climate observations in terms of their ability to improve an ensemble of climate predictions

    Y. Huang et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2011) 108(26):10405-10409. In view of the cost and complexity of climate-observing systems, it is a matter of concern to know which measurements, by satellite or in situ, can best improve the accuracy and precision of long-term ensembles of climate projections. The authors follow a statistical procedure to evaluate the relative capabilities of a wide variety of observable data types for improving the accuracy and precision of an ensemble of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) models. (PDF, 200 KB)

    Early warning of climate tipping points

    T.M. Lenton. Nature Climate Change (2011) 1:201-209. A climate 'tipping point' occurs when a small change in forcing triggers a strongly nonlinear response in the internal dynamics of part of the climate system, qualitatively changing its future state. Recent work shows that early warning of an approaching climate tipping point is possible in principle, and could have considerable value in reducing the risk that they pose.

    Effective media reporting of sea level rise projections: 1989-2009

    U.K. Rick et al. Environmental Research Letters (2011) 6(1):014004. This study examines how sea level rise projections in IPCC Assessment Reports and a sample of the scientific literature have been represented in seven prominent United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) newspapers over the past two decades.

    Evolution of extreme temperatures in a warming climate

    C. Simolo et al. Geophysical Research Letters (2011) 38:doi:10.1029/2011GL048437. The ongoing increase in extremely warm temperature events across large areas of the globe is generally thought to be a signature of a more extreme climate. Here, the authors uncover the way probabilities of extremes are being influenced by temperature evolution.

    How much climate change can be avoided by mitigation?

    W.M. Washington et al. Geophysical Research Letters (2009) doi:10.1029/2008GL037074. A new low emission scenario is simulated in a global climate model to show how some of the impacts from climate change can be averted through mitigation.

    Improving assessment and modelling of climate change impacts on global terrestrial biodiversity

    S.M. McMahon et al. Trends in Ecology & Evolution (2011) 26(5):249-259. Understanding how species and ecosystems respond to climate change has become a major focus of ecology and conservation biology. Modeling approaches provide important tools for making future projections, but current models of the climate-biosphere interface remain overly simplistic, undermining the credibility of projections.

    IPCC expert meeting on assessing and combining multi model climate projections: Meeting report

    T.F. Stocker et al. (eds.), 2010. Climate model results provide the basis for projections of future climate change, and increasing numbers of models are likely to contribute to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR5). The heterogeneity in the new generation of climate models and an increasing emphasis on estimates of uncertainty in the projections raise questions about how best to evaluate and combine model results in order to improve the reliability of projections. (PDF, 4.7 MB)

    Is the earth warming?

    Presentation by C. Tucker, Stockholm Resilience Centre, February 17, 2011. Dr. Compton Tucker, senior research scientist in the Laboratory for Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, describes Earth's climate system as elaborated by satellite and in situ observations, reviews arguments against global warming, and shows the convergence of evidence for human-caused warming of our planet. [68:07 min]

    Modeling approaches for predicting change under WILDCAST: Making progress in a data-poor world

    B.G. Marcot. Alaska Park Science (2009) 8(2):90-94. A basic framework is suggested for knitting together models of climate change, vegetation, and wildlife habitats and species for use in the U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center's WILDCAST Program. The framework also addresses influence of climate change on key ecological functions of organisms and on ecosystem services of value to people. (PDF, 847.9 KB)

    Modeling marine protected areas for threatened eiders in a climatically changing Bering Sea

    J.R. Lovvorn et al. Ecological Applications (2009) 19(6):1596-1613. To assess long-term changes in habitats that will support eiders, the authors linked data on benthic prey, sea ice, and weather from 1970 to 2001 with a spatially explicit simulation model of eider energy balance that integrated field, laboratory, and remote-sensing studies.

    Researchers ponder a 4°C temperature rise

    M. Gross. Current Biology (2010) 20(24):R1052-R1053. As the 2°C target in the Copenhagen Accord begins to appear increasingly elusive, researchers have drawn up an overview of the challenges the world will face if global temperatures rise by 4°C or more.

    Runaway heat? A darkening Arctic may accelerate warming trends there

    S. Perkins. Science News (2005) 168(20):312,314,317. Among the effects that scientists have recorded in the Arctic are earlier snowmelt in the spring, the spread of shrubs into tundra areas once hospitable only for grasses, and the dwindling of sea ice coverage in the summer.

    The complexity of predicting climate-induced ecological impacts

    K. Mustin et al. Climate Research (2007) 35:165-175. The anticipated future increases in global surface temperatures are likely to have major impacts on the distribution of species. Predicting future species' distributions is largely being addressed through the use of climate envelope models, which may indicate the broad direction of likely changes in distribution, but they fail to incorporate the non-climatic factors that are important determinants of species' distributions within their current range. (PDF, 174 KB)

    The Rossby Centre Regional Atmospheric Climate Model Part II: Application to the Arctic climate

    C.G. Jones et al. Ambio (2004) 33(4):211-220. The Rossby Centre regional climate model (RCA2) has been integrated over the Arctic Ocean as part of the international ARCMIP project.

    The Swedish Regional Climate Modelling Programme, SWECLIM: A review

    M. Rummukainen et al. Ambio (2004) 33(4):176-182. SWECLIM was a 6.5-year national research network for regional climate modeling, regional climate change projections, and hydrological impact assessment. Most of the program activities focused on the regional climate system of Northern Europe.

    Towards an enhanced climate system monitoring: Challenges and perspectives

    T.C. Peterson, O. Baddour. Climate Research (2011) 47(1-2):21-28. A key aspect of any strategy for improving global climate system monitoring is enhancing the international exchange of climate data. The benefit of this often becomes clear as meteorological services in countries around the world improve the climate information they provide by putting it in the context of larger scale, cross-border climate signals. (PDF, 1.03 MB)

    Uncertain climate models impair long-term climate strategies: New calibration satellite required to make accurate predictions, say scientists

    Science Daily, September 20, 2011. Predictions vary wildly about how quickly temperatures will rise, resulting in serious implications for long-term political and economic planning, experts say.

    Uncertainty in climate change projections: The role of internal variability

    C. Deser et al. Climate Dynamics (2012) 38(3-4):527-546. Uncertainty in future climate change presents a key challenge for adaptation planning. In this study, uncertainty arising from internal climate variability is investigated using a new 40-member ensemble conducted with the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Climate System Model Version 3 (CCSM3) under the SRES A1B greenhouse gas and ozone recovery forcing scenarios during 2000-2060.

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