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Uncertainty partition challenges the predictability of vital details of climate change

Uncertainty partition challenges the predictability of vital details of climate change
Uncertainty partition challenges the predictability of vital details of climate change
Decision makers and consultants are particularly interested in “detailed” information on future climate to prepare adaptation strategies and adjust design criteria. Projections of future climate at local spatial scales and fine temporal resolutions are subject to the same uncertainties as those at the global scale but the partition among uncertainty sources (emission scenarios, climate models, and internal climate variability) remains largely unquantified. At the local scale the uncertainty of the mean and extremes of precipitation is shown to be irreducible for mid and end-of-century projections because it is almost entirely due to internal climate variability (stochasticity). Conversely, projected changes in mean air temperature and other meteorological variables can be largely constrained, even at local scales, if more accurate emission scenarios can be developed. The results were obtained by applying a comprehensive stochastic downscaling technique to climate model outputs for three exemplary locations. In contrast with earlier studies, the three sources of uncertainty are considered as dependent and, therefore, non-additive. The evidence of the predominant role of internal climate variability leaves little room for uncertainty reduction in precipitation projections; however, the inference is not necessarily negative, since the uncertainty of historic observations is almost as large as that for future projections with direct implications for climate change adaptation measures.
240-251
Fatichi, Simone
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Ivanov, Valeriy
ab372acf-350f-4b6e-8355-3226742462b6
Paschalis, Athanasios
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Peleg, Nadav
eb6cb5dc-ea19-4764-8943-acbfaf29a5c6
Molnar, Peter
99f2d15c-5348-4c80-bb35-fb54c133862d
Rimkus, Stefan
8b061724-37bb-4917-bdc2-f7dff02e98d4
Kim, Jongho
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Burlando, Paolo
5484fcec-b4d3-45e9-a72c-206ccbb5265f
Caporali, Enrica
4e2bb112-3985-47e4-941b-eb63a9ec15b9
Fatichi, Simone
2a12468d-8094-495b-922d-4d00aa0afb11
Ivanov, Valeriy
ab372acf-350f-4b6e-8355-3226742462b6
Paschalis, Athanasios
e7626e9f-172b-4da2-882c-bddb219f3fb6
Peleg, Nadav
eb6cb5dc-ea19-4764-8943-acbfaf29a5c6
Molnar, Peter
99f2d15c-5348-4c80-bb35-fb54c133862d
Rimkus, Stefan
8b061724-37bb-4917-bdc2-f7dff02e98d4
Kim, Jongho
3c1afa00-8e2e-4dea-9706-2b5c2139e298
Burlando, Paolo
5484fcec-b4d3-45e9-a72c-206ccbb5265f
Caporali, Enrica
4e2bb112-3985-47e4-941b-eb63a9ec15b9

Fatichi, Simone, Ivanov, Valeriy, Paschalis, Athanasios, Peleg, Nadav, Molnar, Peter, Rimkus, Stefan, Kim, Jongho, Burlando, Paolo and Caporali, Enrica (2016) Uncertainty partition challenges the predictability of vital details of climate change. Earth's Future, 4 (5), 240-251. (doi:10.1002/2015EF000336).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Decision makers and consultants are particularly interested in “detailed” information on future climate to prepare adaptation strategies and adjust design criteria. Projections of future climate at local spatial scales and fine temporal resolutions are subject to the same uncertainties as those at the global scale but the partition among uncertainty sources (emission scenarios, climate models, and internal climate variability) remains largely unquantified. At the local scale the uncertainty of the mean and extremes of precipitation is shown to be irreducible for mid and end-of-century projections because it is almost entirely due to internal climate variability (stochasticity). Conversely, projected changes in mean air temperature and other meteorological variables can be largely constrained, even at local scales, if more accurate emission scenarios can be developed. The results were obtained by applying a comprehensive stochastic downscaling technique to climate model outputs for three exemplary locations. In contrast with earlier studies, the three sources of uncertainty are considered as dependent and, therefore, non-additive. The evidence of the predominant role of internal climate variability leaves little room for uncertainty reduction in precipitation projections; however, the inference is not necessarily negative, since the uncertainty of historic observations is almost as large as that for future projections with direct implications for climate change adaptation measures.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 21 April 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 29 April 2016
Organisations: Water & Environmental Engineering Group

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 393664
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/393664
PURE UUID: 986127c3-7d00-4c68-84c6-b30db64e76d0
ORCID for Athanasios Paschalis: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4833-9962

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 03 May 2016 08:41
Last modified: 02 Dec 2019 20:15

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Contributors

Author: Simone Fatichi
Author: Valeriy Ivanov
Author: Athanasios Paschalis ORCID iD
Author: Nadav Peleg
Author: Peter Molnar
Author: Stefan Rimkus
Author: Jongho Kim
Author: Paolo Burlando
Author: Enrica Caporali

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