The first results from a new generation of global climate models, which are valuable tools for understanding climate change, are now becoming available from climate research centres around the world.
We humans are constantly modeling the world around us to find patterns that will help us. But sometimes we forget that our models are just that, tentative outlines of how the world seems to work. Getting stuck on just one model with no flexibility is often the result of vested interests pushing that model. We need to be smarter than that to solve the problems we now face as individuals and as a global society.
Over the past few years, an international team of climate scientists, economists and energy systems modellers have built a range of new “pathways” that examine how global society, demographics and economics might change over the next century. They are collectively known as the “Shared Socioeconomic Pathways” (SSPs).
One swallow doesn’t make a spring, and nor does one scientific paper change a whole body of evidence. But you could be mistaken for thinking so after the poor media coverage last week of a new piece of climate research.
Modeling the future of our climate is a complex task that not too many people understand. What do we know about how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (or IPCC) modeling actually works? Why has the modeling community decided to model emissions separately from socioeconomic scenarios?
A recent study suggesting that human-caused climate change brought benefits in the 20th century offers a good starting point to explore a few of the issues that surround this fraught, complex topic.
Let me start with something to dispel the confusion about what models are for. When you deal with complex, adaptive systems, models are NOT meant to predict the future.
NASA, the US space agency, has released an “eye-popping” three-dimensional animation showing carbon dioxide emissions moving through the Earth’s atmosphere over the course of a year.
Several media outlets are reporting that new research shows climate model projections of rainfall extremes may be “flawed” or “wrong”.
A consensus is emerging among scientists that the rate of global warming has slowed over the last decade. While they are still examining why, many researchers believe this phenomenon is linked to the heat being absorbed by the world’s oceans.