Climate model projections from the Scenario Model Intercomparison Project (ScenarioMIP) of CMIP6

Tebaldi C, Debeire K, Eyring V, Fischer E, Fyfe J, Friedlingstein P, Knutti R, Lowe J, et al. (2020). Climate model projections from the Scenario Model Intercomparison Project (ScenarioMIP) of CMIP6. Earth System Dynamics DOI:10.5194/esd-2020-68. (In Press)

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The Scenario Model Intercomparison Project (ScenarioMIP) defines and coordinates the primary future climate projections within the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6). This paper presents a range of its outcomes by synthesizing results from the participating global coupled Earth system models for concentration driven simulations. We limit our scope to the analysis of strictly geophysical outcomes: mainly global averages and spatial patterns of change for surface air temperature and precipitation. We also compare CMIP6 projections to CMIP5 results, especially for those scenarios that were designed to provide continuity across the CMIP phases, at the same time highlighting important differences in forcing composition, as well as in results. The range of future temperature and precipitation changes by the end of the century encompassing the Tier 1 experiments (SSP1-2.6, SSP2-4.5, SSP3-7.0 and SSP5-8.5) and SSP1-1.9 spans a larger range of outcomes compared to CMIP5, due to higher warming (by 1.15 °C) reached at the upper end of the 5–95 % envelope of the highest scenario, SSP5-8.5. This is due to both the wider range of radiative forcing that the new scenarios cover and to higher climate sensitivities in some of the new models compared to their CMIP5 predecessors. Spatial patterns of change for temperature and precipitation averaged over models and scenarios have familiar features, and an analysis of their variations confirms model structural differences to be the dominant source of uncertainty. Models also differ with respect to the size and evolution of internal variability as measured by individual models' initial condition ensembles' spread, according to a set of initial condition ensemble simulations available under SSP3-7.0. The same experiments suggest a tendency for internal variability to decrease along the course of the century, a new result that will benefit from further analysis over a larger set of models. Benefits of mitigation, all else being equal in terms of societal drivers, appear clearly when comparing scenarios developed under the same SSP, but to which different degrees of mitigation have been applied. It is also found that a mild overshoot in temperature of a few decades in mid-century, as represented in SSP5-3.4OS, does not affect the end outcome in terms of temperature and precipitation changes by 2100, which return to the same level as those reached by the gradually increasing SSP4-3.4. Central estimates of the time at which the ensemble means of the different scenarios reach a given warming level show all scenarios reaching 1.5 °C of warming compared to the 1850–1900 baseline in the second half of the current decade, with the time span between slow and fast warming covering 20–28 years from present. 2 °C of warming is reached as early as the late '30s by the ensemble mean under SSP5-8.5, but as late as the late '50s under SSP1-2.6. The highest warming level considered, 5 °C, is reached only by the ensemble mean under SSP5-8.5, and not until the mid-90s.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Energy (ENE)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2020 06:40
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2020 06:40

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