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Figure 1. Accessing the Explore Projections functionality from the top menu.

Detailed Projections

The Detailed Projections module (Figure 2) provides the most sophisticated level of projections exploration that Climate Futures offers.

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  1. Drop down menu for selecting an emissions scenario.
  2. Drop down menu for selecting a time period.
  3. Info buttonsproviding more details– or refer to the Glossary of Terms.
  4. Drop down menus to select the “classifiers” used to define the climate futures matrix: two climate variables and their associated seasons (default climate variables are temperature and rainfall, and the default season is annual).
  5. Display Options to create a more detailed Climate Futures Matrix.
  6. Expandable models selection panel – allows exclusion of particular climate models.
  7. Map of the PCCSP/PACCSAP countries – click to explore “climate futures”.

Setting the Classifying Variables and Seasons

Two climate variables are required to generate the projected climate futures. By default, Surface Temperature and Rainfall are used. There are 11 variables to choose from:

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Note: “Strong” and “Heavy” are defined as the 99th percentile, i.e. the heaviest 1% of events. These variables are only available from the older CMIP3 models. See the Glossary of Terms for a detailed description of the climate variables or click the little blue information button .

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Once all input variables are selected, click on a region of interest on the map to create and explore its “climate futures”. Like in Intermediate Mode, the results are displayed in a (more detailed) Climate Futures Matrix. The Advanced Mode allows you to narrow down the range of climate projections for specific applications and facilitates the process of choosing climate models appropriate for a designated impact assessment.

Setting Display Options

The display options panel (Figure 5) allows you to select which of the climate variables available in Pacific Climate Futures you would like to display within the climate futures matrix. You can select one, several, or all of the 11 variables. It is important to understand which variables ‘belong’ within a given climate future for a given pair of classifying variables. In general, only variables that change in a similar way to changes in one of the classifying variables (i.e. that are ‘correlated’) should be displayed within the matrix. Table 1 shows which variables correspond with each of the three most commonly used classifying variables, Surface Temperature, Rainfall and Wind Speed.

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Note: This selection of climate variables and seasons affects the information presented within the cells of the output matrix but not the classification of projections. It provides more detailed information for the climate variables chosen.

Select which climate models to exclude if necessary

The PCCSP and PACCSAP programmes undertook extensive evaluation of the global climate models used in the Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The models were carefully assessed to see how well they reflect past and current conditions, such as how each model reproduces the El Niño Southern Oscillation in the Pacific region. As a result of this evaluation, seven models (six CMIP3, one CMIP5) were considered unsuitable for use in climate projections over the PCCSP/PACCSAP region, leaving 18 CMIP3 and more than 45 CMIP5 models for use in Pacific Climate Futures.

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Figure 6. Models Selection Panel

Generate the Climate Futures Matrix

Once the above settings have been selected, you can generate “climate futures” for your region of interest. Just click on a region on the map. The Climate Futures Matrix will then be displayed.

Displaying the projections: The Climate Futures Matrix Results

As described earlier (see The Climate Futures Matrix) matrix shows projected climate futures for the chosen time period, emissions scenario and the two classifying climate variables averaged over the region of interest. The cells of the matrix can be expanded by clicking on the + symbol in the top right corner of each cell (Figure 7). This reveals results for each model as well as some basic summary statistics for the cell. It is important to understand that the change values displayed are a 20-year average projected change relative to the 20-year period centred on the chosen baseline (or reference) period (see Accessing and Setting User Preferences).

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  1. The classifying climate variables and corresponding seasons that you have selected are found along the top and left of the matrix.
  2. The pre-defined categories for the classification. For temperature and rainfall they range from: “Slightly Warmer” to “Much Hotter” and “Much Drier” to “Much Wetter”.
  3. Two types of Model consensus information is provided for each climate future: the number of models whose results fall within the climate future compared to the total number and, a colour shading (see the legend in Figure 6).
  4. The climate variables and seasons you have selected in the display options panel appear in corresponding cells in the Climate Futures Matrix.
  5. The models used to generate the projections are listed alongside their corresponding results.
  6. Any models for which there is important model skill information that should be considered are highlighted in red. Details are provided below the matrix in the “Confidence Statements” section.
  7. Summary statistics are provided for each climate future.
  8. A tick-box allows one or more climate futures to be selected for analysis in the Representative Model Wizard.

Selecting a representative model: The Representative Model Wizard

In many impact assessments it is not practical to evaluate the impacts for all climate models from each “climate future”. In such cases it is often appropriate to select one or two models suitable for your application. The “Representative Model Selection Wizard” is a tool for objectively selecting a climate model from a sub-set or “climate future” of interest.

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The “Export” button next to each climate model and score can be used to download data.

Exporting Data for Impact Assessments

Once representative models have been selected for the climate futures of relevance to the impact assessment, the projected change values for that model can be obtained directly from Pacific Climate Futures. To export data, just click on the “Export” button in the Representative Model Selection Wizard (Figure 9).

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