The Future Climate section of Pacific Climate Futures is freely accessible without having to sign in by clicking on Future Climate in the top menu (Figure 1).
Figure 1 Accessing the Future Climate tool
You are then presented with a map of the PCCSP/PACCSAP partner countries (Figure 2).
To generate and explore different futures, click on the country region (or sub-region) of interest.
Figure 2 Climate Futures region map
The Basic projections screen appears showing summary information of the average climate projections for 2030 under the SRES medium emissions scenario A1B for the country you have selected. Note that these are CMIP3 (IPCC 4th Assessment Report) results. Pacific Climate Futures automatically identifies key future climate scenarios, described in terms of annual changes in temperature and rainfall. These are presented under the heading: “Maximum Consensus”, “Least Change” and “Potentially High Impact” (Figure 2).
Figure 2 Key future climate scenarios (climate futures) provided by the Future Climate (Basic) interface. See also the notes below.
- The name and a small map of the region you have selected appear at the top
- Chosen emissions scenario and time period (the default emissions scenario is A1B and time period 2030).
- Information buttons: click to find explanations and more detail (also see the Glossary of Terms on page 25).
- Key climate futures (future climate scenarios) with mean projected changes, relative to the recent past, for temperature and rainfall:
- Maximum Consensus – The climate future described by the greatest number of models.
- Least Change – This climate future is closest to the current climate in terms of the selected variables.
- Other Potentially High Impact Climate Futures – The climate future(s) with the greatest increase in temperature and the greatest reduction in rainfall and/or the greatest projected increase in temperature and the greatest projected increase in rainfall.
- Consensus information is provided for each climate future. This is simply a count of the number of models that agree on that category of projected changes.
- Summary results from all available models. Data are provided for the mean change and standard deviation (a measure of the range) for annual temperature and rainfall.
Beneath the Summary results, a scatter-plot (Figure 3) shows the projected change in temperature and rainfall for each model individually. Annual rainfall change in % is shown against the vertical axis while annual temperature change in °C is shown against the horizontal axis. Different symbols are used to show the climate future into which each model falls.
Figure 3 Example scatter-plot of projected changes in rainfall (vertical axis) and temperature (horizontal axis) for each model. Symbols indicate the key climate future to which each model belongs.
Below this, Mean projected changes in air temperature and rainfall from all climate models and each emissions scenario are shown as a time series plot. For the older SRES emissions scenarios, a simple plot is displayed (Figure 4). For the more recent RCP scenarios, a more sophisticated ‘plume plot’ is displayed (Figure 5).
Figure 4 Example time-series plots for CMIP3 data (based on SRES emissions scenarios) showing projected change over time for temperature (left) and rainfall (right) for each emissions scenario.
Figure 5 Example time-series plots for CMIP5 data showing recent historic data and projected changes over time for temperature (top) and rainfall (bottom) for all Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs).
When displaying CMIP3 results (by selecting an SRES emissions scenario; i.e. B1, A1B or A2), three time-series plots of marine projections are displayed at the bottom of the page. These are mean sea level (Figure 6), sea-surface temperature (Figure 7) and ocean acidification (Figure 8). These plots can be downloaded in low (lowres) or high (hires) resolution versions by clicking the appropriate link. More details can be obtained from the reports available at www.pacificclimatechangescience.org.
Figure 6 Example sea level time-series plot.
Figure 7 Example sea-surface temperature time-series plot.
Figure 8 Example ocean acidification (aragonite saturation) time-series plot.
Choosing different emissions scenarios and time periods
The greenhouse gas scenario and time period can be changed using the drop down boxes at the top of the screen (Figure 9). Just click on the small arrows to expand the menu and click on the values of your choice. Note that if an SRES emissions scenario (i.e. B1, A1B or A2) is selected, you should select 2030, 2055 or 2090 as no data are available for the other time periods.
Once you have selected a different scenario or time period, the website will automatically update (there may be a noticeable delay depending on the internet speed).
For more information about the emissions scenarios, please click on the blue button or refer to the Glossary of Terms.
Figure 9 Setting the emissions scenario and time period