Graphs from the paper
Reduced uncertainty in regional climate projections. (a) Decadal mean annual temperature over Central Europe from current unconstrained climate models for high and low scenarios. Constrained versions of those scenarios are given in dotted-dashed lines. The 5-95% range for the unconstrained (constrained) projections is given in light (dark) shading. Observations are given as annual values and a 4th order polynomial fit. Data is relative to (left y-axis) 2001-2020 and (right y-axis) 1850-1900. (b) Temperature ranges for the decade of 2046-2055 from unconstrained, partly constrained, and fully constrained projections. Pie charts give the relative importance of different sources of uncertainty relative to 2001-2020. (c) Decadal mean annual versus summer temperature from individual models and scenarios. Normalized PDFs for unconstrained and constrained summer temperatures are given together with 5-95% range horizontal bars. Credit: Lehner et al. [2023], Figure 1
Editors’ Highlights are summaries of recent papers by AGU’s journal editors.
Source: AGU Advances

With ongoing climate change and the certainty of additional near-term warming, adaptation to climate change is now a necessity for many regions. From a climate system perspective, uncertainty originates from three sources: scenario uncertainty, response uncertainty, and internal variability. Internal variability is largely unpredictable, but scenario and response uncertainty originate from our limited understanding of socio-economic and climate dynamics.

Lehner et al. [2023] combine these two recent advances in understanding of socio-economic dynamics and climate system response to create constrained global and regional projections of temperature with the goal of illustrating the current potential to better inform climate adaptation decisions at mid-century and beyond. Constrained climate projections demonstrate real progress in the understanding of likely futures that can support climate adaptation planning in cases where large uncertainty has previously hindered progress. The time has come to explore and communicate these combined constraints more widely in climate change impact assessments.

Citation: Lehner, F., Hawkins, E., Sutton, R., Pendergrass, A. G., & Moore, F. C. (2023). New potential to reduce uncertainty in regional climate projections by combining physical and socio-economic constraints. AGU Advances, 4, e2023AV000887.

—Donald Wuebbles, Editor, AGU Advances

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