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Creators/Authors contains: "Tebaldi, Claudia"

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  1. Abstract

    We use six Earth system models (ESMs) run under SSP3-7.0, a scenario characterized by a relatively large land use change (LUC) over the 21st century, and under a variant of the same scenario where a significantly different pattern of LUC, taken from SSP1-2.6, was used, all else being equal. Our goal is to identify changes in climate extremes between the two scenarios that are statistically significant and robust across the ESMs. The motivation for this study is to test a long-held assumption of the shared socio-economic pathway-representative concentration pathway (SSP-RCP) scenario framework: that the signal from LUC can be safely disregarded when pairing different SSPs to the compatible RCPs, where compatibility only considers global radiative forcing, predominantly determined by well-mixed greenhouse gasses emissions. We analyze extremes of daily minimum and maximum temperatures and precipitation, after fitting non-stationary generalized extreme value distributions in a way that borrows strength along the length of the simulation (2015–2100) and across initial condition ensembles. We consider changes in the 20 year return levels (RL20s) of these metrics by 2100, and focus on eight locations where LUC is large within each scenario, and strongly differs between scenarios, averaging the RL20s over a neighborhood characterized by the same LUC to enhance the signal to noise. We find that precipitation extremes do not show significant differences attributable to LUC differences. For temperature extremes (cold and hot) results are mixed, with some location-index combination showing significant results for some of the ESMs but not all, and not many coherent changes appearing for indices across regions, or regions across indices. These ESMs are representative of what is typically adopted as the source of climate information for impact studies, when the SSP-RCP framework is put to use. Overall, our analysis suggests that the hypothesis to pair SSPs to RCPs in a flexible fashion is overall defensible. However, the appearance of some coherence in a few locations and for some indices invites further investigation.

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  2. The framework of Representative Key Risks (RKRs) has been adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group II (WGII) to categorize, assess and communicate a wide range of regional and sectoral key risks from climate change. These are risks expected to become severe due to the potentially detrimental convergence of changing climate conditions with the exposure and vulnerability of human and natural systems. Other papers in this special issue treat each of eight RKRs holistically by assessing their current status and future evolution as a result of this convergence. However, in these papers, such assessment cannot always be organized according to a systematic gradation of climatic changes. Often the big-picture evolution of risk has to be extrapolated from either qualitative effects of “low”, “medium” and “high” warming, or limited/focused analysis of the consequences of particular mitigation choices (e.g., benefits of limiting warming to 1.5 or 2C), together with consideration of the socio-economic context and possible adaptation choices. In this study we offer a representation – as systematic as possible given current literature and assessments – of the future evolution of the hazard components of RKRs. We identify the relevant hazards for each RKR, based upon the WGII authors’ assessment, and we report on their current state and expected future changes in magnitude, intensity and/or frequency, linking these changes to Global Warming Levels (GWLs) to the extent possible. We draw on the assessment of changes in climatic impact-drivers relevant to RKRs described in the 6th Assessment Report by Working Group I supplemented when needed by more recent literature. For some of these quantities - like regional trends in oceanic and atmospheric temperature and precipitation, some heat and precipitation extremes, permafrost thaw and Northern Hemisphere snow cover - a strong and quantitative relationship with increasing GWLs has been identified. For others - like frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones and extra-tropical storms, and fire weather - that link can only be described qualitatively. For some processes - like the behavior of ice sheets, or changes in circulation dynamics - large uncertainties about the effects of different GWLs remain, and for a few others - like ocean pH and air pollution - the composition of the scenario of anthropogenic emissions is most relevant, rather than the warming reached. In almost all cases, however, the basic message remains that every small increment in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere and associated warming will bring changes in climate phenomena that will contribute to increasing risk of impacts on human and natural systems, in the absence of compensating changes in these systems’ exposure and vulnerability, and in the absence of effective adaptation. Our picture of the evolution of RKR-relevant climatic impact-drivers complements and enriches the treatment of RKRs in the other papers in at least two ways: by filling in their often only cursory or limited representation of the physical climate aspects driving impacts, and by providing a fuller representation of their future potential evolution, an important component – if never the only one – of the future evolution of risk severity. 
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  3. Abstract

    One of the major concerns engendered by a warming climate are changing sea levels and their lasting effects on coastal populations, infrastructures, and natural habitats. Sea levels are now monitored by satellites, but long‐term records are only available at discrete locations along the coasts. Sea levels and sea‐level processes must be better understood at the local level to best inform real‐world adaptation decisions. We propose a statistical model that facilitates the characterization of known sea‐level processes, which jointly govern the observed sea level along the United States Atlantic Coast. Our model not only incorporates long‐term sea level rise and seasonal cycles but also accurately accounts for residual spatiotemporal processes. By combining a spatially varying coefficient modeling approach with spatiotemporal factor analysis methods in a Bayesian framework, the method represents the contribution of each of these processes and accounts for corresponding dependencies and uncertainties in a coherent way. Additionally, the model provides a consistent way to estimate these processes and sea level values at unmonitored locations along the coast. We show the outcome of the proposed model using thirty years of sea level data from 38 stations along the Atlantic (east) Coast of the United States. Among other results, our method estimates the rate of sea level rise to range from roughly 1 mm/year in the northern and southern regions of the Atlantic coast to 5.4 mm/year in the middle region.

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  4. Abstract

    Simulations of 21st century climate with Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2) using the standard atmosphere (CAM6), denoted CESM2(CAM6), and the latest generation of the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM6), denoted CESM2(WACCM6), are presented, and a survey of general results is described. The equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) of CESM2(CAM6) is 5.3°C, and CESM2(WACCM6) is 4.8°C, while the transient climate response (TCR) is 2.1°C in CESM2(CAM6) and 2.0°C in CESM2(WACCM6). Thus, these two CESM2 model versions have higher values of ECS than the previous generation of model, the CESM (CAM5) (hereafter CESM1), that had an ECS of 4.1°C, though the CESM2 versions have lower values of TCR compared to the CESM1 with a somewhat higher value of 2.3°C. All model versions produce credible simulations of the time evolution of historical global surface temperature. The higher ECS values for the CESM2 versions are reflected in higher values of global surface temperature increase by 2,100 in CESM2(CAM6) and CESM2(WACCM6) compared to CESM1 between comparable emission scenarios for the high forcing scenario. Future warming among CESM2 model versions and scenarios diverges around 2050. The larger values of TCR and ECS in CESM2(CAM6) compared to CESM1 are manifested by greater warming in the tropics. Associated with a higher climate sensitivity, for CESM2(CAM6) the first instance of an ice‐free Arctic in September occurs for all scenarios and ensemble members in the 2030–2050 time frame, but about a decade later in CESM2(WACCM6), occurring around 2040–2060.

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  5. Summary

    Posterior distributions for the joint projections of future temperature and precipitation trends and changes are derived by applying a Bayesian hierachical model to a rich data set of simulated climate from general circulation models. The simulations that are analysed here constitute the future projections on which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change based its recent summary report on the future of our planet’s climate, albeit without any sophisticated statistical handling of the data. Here we quantify the uncertainty that is represented by the variable results of the various models and their limited ability to represent the observed climate both at global and at regional scales. We do so in a Bayesian framework, by estimating posterior distributions of the climate change signals in terms of trends or differences between future and current periods, and we fully characterize the uncertain nature of a suite of other parameters, like biases, correlation terms and model-specific precisions. Besides presenting our results in terms of posterior distributions of the climate signals, we offer as an alternative representation of the uncertainties in climate change projections the use of the posterior predictive distribution of a new model’s projections. The results from our analysis can find straightforward applications in impact studies, which necessitate not only best guesses but also a full representation of the uncertainty in climate change projections. For water resource and crop models, for example, it is vital to use joint projections of temperature and precipitation to represent the characteristics of future climate best, and our statistical analysis delivers just that.

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