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 Collection: Environmental Policy Collection
Uses and Limitations of Observations, Data, Forecasts, and Other Projections in Decision Support for Selected Sectors and Regions

Uses and Limitations of Observations, Data, Forecasts, and Other Projections in Decision Support for Selected Sectors and Regions

Date: August 2008
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research
Description: This Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP), Uses and Limitations of Observations, Data, Forecasts, and Other Projections in Decision Support for Selected Sectors and Regions. This is part of a series of 21 SAPs produced by the CCSP aimed at providing current assessments of climate change science to inform public debate, policy, and operational decisions. This SAP focuses on the use of climate observations, data, forecasts, and other projections in decision support.
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Effects of Climate Change on Energy Production and Use in the United States

Effects of Climate Change on Energy Production and Use in the United States

Date: February 2008
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research
Description: This document, part of the Synthesis and Assessment Products described in the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) Strategic Plan. Climate affects the design, construction, safety, operations, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure and systems. The prospect of a changing climate raises critical questions regarding how alterations in temperature, precipitation, storm events, and other aspects of the climate could affect the nation's roads, airports, rail, transit systems, pipelines, ports, and waterways. Phase I of this regional assessment of climate change and its potential impacts on transportation systems addresses these questions for the region of the U.S. central Gulf Coast between Galveston, Texas and Mobile, Alabama. This region contains multimodal transportation infrastructure that is critical to regional and national transportation services. Historical trends and future climate scenarios were used to establish a context for examining the potential effects of climate change on all major transportation modes within the region. Climate changes anticipated during the next 50 to 100 years for the central Gulf Coast include warming temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, and increased storm intensity. The warming of the oceans and decline of polar ice sheets is expected to accelerate the rate of sea level rise globally. The effects of sea level ...
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The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity in the United States

The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity in the United States

Date: May 2008
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research.
Description: This document is a part of the Synthesis and Assessment Products described in the U.S. Climate Change Science Program Strategic Plan. The report describes how climate affects the design, construction, safety, operations, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure and systems. The prospect of a changing climate raises critical questions regarding how alterations in temperature, precipitation, storm events, and other aspects of the climate could affect the nation's roads, airports, rail, transit systems, pipelines, ports, and waterways. Phase I of this regional assessment of climate change and its potential impacts on transportation systems addresses these questions for the region of the U.S. central Gulf Coast between Galveston, Texas and Mobile, Alabama.
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Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure: Gulf Coast Study, Phase I

Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure: Gulf Coast Study, Phase I

Date: March 2008
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research
Description: This document, part of the Synthesis and Assessment Products described in the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) Strategic Plan. Climate affects the design, construction, safety, operations, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure and systems. The prospect of a changing climate raises critical questions regarding how alterations in temperature, precipitation, storm events, and other aspects of the climate could affect the nation's roads, airports, rail, transit systems, pipelines, ports, and waterways. Phase I of this regional assessment of climate change and its potential impacts on transportation systems addresses these questions for the region of the U.S. central Gulf Coast between Galveston, Texas and Mobile, Alabama. This region contains multimodal transportation infrastructure that is critical to regional and national transportation services. The significance of various climate factors for transportation systems was assessed.
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Best Practice Approaches for Characterizing, Communicating, and Incorporating Scientific Uncertainty in Decision Making

Best Practice Approaches for Characterizing, Communicating, and Incorporating Scientific Uncertainty in Decision Making

Date: January 2009
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research
Description: This report discusses the current state of understanding about the characteristics and implications of uncertainty related to climate change and variability to an audience of policymakers, decision makers, and members of the media and general public with an interest in developing a fundamental understanding of the issue.
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Definitions and Methodological Options to Inventory Emissions from Direct Human-induced Degradation of Forests and Devegetation of Other Vegetation Types

Definitions and Methodological Options to Inventory Emissions from Direct Human-induced Degradation of Forests and Devegetation of Other Vegetation Types

Date: 2003
Creator: Penman, Jim; Wagner, Fabian; Tanabe, Kiyoto; Ngara, Todd; Miwa, Kyoko; Krug, Thelma et al.
Description: This report on Definitions and Methodological Options to Inventory Emissions from Direct Human-Induced Degradation of Forests and Devegetation of Other Vegetation Types is the response from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)1 to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)2 . The report was prepared in cooperation with the preparation of the other report under the IPCC National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme (IPCC-NGGIP), on Good Practice Guidance for Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (GPG-LULUCF). The report discusses: Alternative definitions and provides possible framework definitions for countries to consider; Methodological options to inventory emissions from degradation and devegetation activities; Approaches to reporting and documentation; and Implications of methodological and definitional options for accounting under the provisions of Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol (including issues of scale, costs and accuracy).
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Revised Research Plan for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program

Revised Research Plan for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program

Date: May 2008
Creator: US Climate Change Science Program
Description: This Revised Research Plan is an update to the 2003 Strategic Plan of the US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP), a document that was developed via a thorough, open and transparent multi-year process involving a wide range of scientists and managers. The Strategic Plan has long-term value to CCSP, but like any strategic plan, it must be supplemented by shorter-term revisions that take into account both advances in the science and changes in societal needs, and CCSP has an ongoing long-range strategic planning process to ensure that these needs are met. The Revised Research Plan (hereinafter referred to as the Research Plan) draws on CCSP's long-range planning process and provides this update, in compliance with the terms of the Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990. In the Research Plan, the reader will find several things: 1) an updated statement of vision, goals and capabilities consistent with CCSP's current Strategic Plan but reflecting both scientific progress and the evolution of the Program based on accomplishments and evolving societal and environmental needs; 2) a description of the relationship of the Research Plan to the current Scientific Assessment; 3) highlights of ways in which the program is evolving in the context of ...
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The Regional Impacts of Climate Change: An Assessment of Vulnerability

The Regional Impacts of Climate Change: An Assessment of Vulnerability

Date: November 1997
Creator: Watson, Robert T.; Zinyowera, Marufu C.; Moss, Richard H. & Dokken, David J.
Description: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was jointly established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme in 1988 to assess the scientific and technical literature on climate change, the potential impacts of changes in climate, and options for adaption to and mitigation of climate change. Since its inception, the IPCC has produced a series of Assessment Reports, Special Reports, Technical Papers, methodologies and other products which have become standard works of reference, widely used by policymakers, scientists and other experts. This Special Report, which has been produced by Working Group II of the IPCC, builds on the Working Group's contribution to the Second Assessment Report (SAR), and incorporates more recent information made available since mid-1995. It has been prepared in response to a request from the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It addresses an important question posed by the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC, namely, the degree to which human conditions and the natural environment are vulnerable to the potential effects of climate change. The report establishes a common base of information regarding the potential costs and benefits of climatic ...
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Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States: Highlights

Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States: Highlights

Date: June 2009
Creator: Karl, Thomas R.; Melillo, Jerry M.; Peterson, Thomas C. & Hassol, Susan Joy
Description: This booklet highlights key findings of Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, a state of knowledge report about the observed and projected consequences of climate change for our nation and people. It is an authoritative scientific report written in plain language, with the goal of better informing public and private decision making at all levels. The report draws from a large body of scientific information including the set of 21 synthesis and assessment products from the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and much more. It also includes new information published since these assessments were released. While the primary focus of the report is on the impacts of climate change in the United States, it also discusses some of the actions society is already taking or can take to respond to the climate challenge. These include limiting climate change by, for example, reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases or increasing their removal from the atmosphere. The importance of our current choices about heat-trapping emissions is underscored by comparing impacts resulting from higher versus lower emissions scenarios. Choices about emissions made now will have far-reaching consequences for climate change impacts, with lower ...
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Climate Change and Water: Technical Paper VI

Climate Change and Water: Technical Paper VI

Date: 2008
Creator: Bates, Bryson; Kundzewicz, Zbigniew W.; Wu, Shaohong & Palutikof, Jean
Description: The Technical Paper addresses the issue of freshwater. Sea level rise is dealt with only insofar as it can lead to impacts on freshwater in coastal areas and beyond. Climate, freshwater, biophysical and socio-economic systems are interconnected in complex ways. Hence, a change in any one of these can induce a change in any other. Freshwater-related issues are critical in determining key regional and sectoral vulnerabilities. Therefore, the relationship between climate change and freshwater resources is of primary concern to human society and also has implications for all living species.
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Climate Regime Beyond 2012: Key Perspectives ([Japan] Long-Term Targets) 2nd Interim Report

Climate Regime Beyond 2012: Key Perspectives ([Japan] Long-Term Targets) 2nd Interim Report

Date: January 2004
Creator: Global Environment Committee of Central Environment Council, Ministry of the Environment, Japan
Description: This document is an interim committee report based on discussions from the environmental perspective what considerations Japan should abide by as a basis for international negotiations on the climate regime beyond 2012. A wide range of viewpoints are considered.
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IPCC Special Report Aviation and the Global Atmosphere: Summary for Policymakers

IPCC Special Report Aviation and the Global Atmosphere: Summary for Policymakers

Date: 1999
Creator: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Groups I and III
Description: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was jointly established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1988 to: (i) assess available information on the science, the impacts, and the economics of, and the options for mitigating and/or adapting to, climate change and (ii) provide, on request, scientific/technical/socio-economic advice to the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Since then the IPCC has produced a series of Assessment Reports, Special Reports, Technical Papers, methodologies, and other products that have become standard works of reference, widely used by policymakers, scientists, and other experts. This Special Report was prepared following a request from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The state of understanding of the relevant science of the atmosphere, aviation technology, and socio-economic issues associated with mitigation options is assessed and reported for both subsonic and supersonic fleets. The potential effects that aviation has had in the past and may have in the future on both stratospheric ozone depletion and global climate change are covered; environmental impacts of aviation at the local ...
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Scientific Assessment of the Effects of Global Change on the United States

Scientific Assessment of the Effects of Global Change on the United States

Date: May 2008
Creator: Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. National Science and Technology Council.
Description: This national scientific assessment integrates and interprets the findings of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) and synthesizes findings from previous assessments, including reports and products by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It analyzes current natural and human-induced trends in global change, and projects future trends impacting the natural environment, agriculture, water resources, social systems, energy production and use, transportation, and human health. It is intended to help inform discussion of the relevant issues by decisionmakers, stakeholders, and the public. As such, this report addresses the requirements for assessment in the Global Change Research Act of 1990.1
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Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry

Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry

Date: 2000
Creator: Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Description: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry (SR-LULUCF) has been prepared in response to a request from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). At its eighth session in Bonn, Germany, 2-12 Ju and technical implications of carbon sequestration strategies related to land use, land-use change, and forestry activities. The scope, structure, and outline of this Special Report was approved by the IPCC in plenary meetings during its Fourteenth Session. This Special Report examines several key questions relating to the exchange of carbon between the atmosphere and the terrestrial pool of aboveground biomass, below-ground biomass, and soils. Vegetation exchanges carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and the terrestrial biosphere through photosynthesis and plant and soil respiration. This natural exchange has been occurring for hundreds of millions of years. Humans are changing the natural rate of exchange of carbon between the atmosphere and the terrestrial biosphere through land use, land-use change, and forestry activities. The aim of the SR-LULUCF is to assist the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol by providing relevant scientific and technical information to describe how the global carbon cycle operates ...
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Emissions Scenarios

Emissions Scenarios

Date: 2000
Creator: Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Description: This Report describes climate change scenarios that extend to the end of the 21st century and how they were developed. The scenarios cover a wide range of the main driving forces of future emissions, from demographic to technological and economic developments. The set of emissions scenarios is based on an extensive assessment of the literature, six alternative modeling approaches, and an "open process" that solicited wide participation and feedback from many groups and individuals. The SRES scenarios include the range of emissions of all relevant species of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and sulfur and their driving forces.
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Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System: Issues related to hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons

Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System: Issues related to hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons

Date: 2005
Creator: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Description: This Special Report on Safeguarding the Ozone and the Global Climate System has been developed in response to invitations from Parties to the UNFCCC and the Montreal Protocol. It provides information relevant to decision-making in regard to safeguarding the ozone layer and the global climate system: two global environmental issues involving complex scientific and technical considerations.
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Scenarios of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Atmospheric Concentrations

Scenarios of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Atmospheric Concentrations

Date: 2007
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research
Description: This and a companion report constitute one of twenty-one Synthesis and Assessment Products called for in the Strategic Plan for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program. These studies are structured to provide high-level, integrated research results on important science issues with a particular focus on questions raised by decision-makers on dimensions of climate change directly relevant to the U.S. One element of the CCSP's strategic vision is to provide decision support tools for differentiating and evaluating response strategies. Scenario-based analysis is one such tool. The scenarios in this report explore the implications of alternative stabilization levels of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere, and they explicitly consider the economic and technological foundations of such response options. Such scenarios are a valuable complement to other scientific research contained in the twenty-one CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Products. The companion to the research reported here, Global-Change Scenarios: Their Development and Use, explores the broader strategic frame for developing and utilizing scenarios in support of climate decision making.
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Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region

Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region

Date: January 2009
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research
Description: This document is part of the Synthesis and Assessment Products described in the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) Strategic Plan. The U.S. Government's CCSP is responsible for providing the best science-based knowledge possible to inform management of the risks and opportunities associated with changes in the climate and related environmental systems. To support its mission, the CCSP has commissioned 21 "synthesis and assessment products" (SAPs) to advance decision making on climate change-related issues by providing current evaluations of climate change science and identifying priorities for research, observation, and decision support. This Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP), developed as part of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, examines potential effects of sea-level rise from climate change during the twenty-first century, with a focus on the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. Using scientific literature and policy-related documents, the SAP describes the physical environments; potential changes to coastal environments, wetlands, and vulnerable species; societal impacts and implications of sea-level rise; decisions that may be sensitive to sea-level rise; opportunities for adaptation; and institutional barriers to adaptation.
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Climate Models: An Assessment of Strengths and Limitations

Climate Models: An Assessment of Strengths and Limitations

Date: July 2008
Creator: Climate Change Science Program (U.S.). Subcommittee on Global Change Research.
Description: This Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP 3.1) focuses on the Climate models. Scientists extensively use mathematical models of Earth's climate, executed on the most powerful computers available, to examine hypotheses about past and present-day climates. Development of climate models is fully consistent with approaches being taken in many other fields of science dealing with very complex systems. These climate simulations provide a framework within which enhanced understanding of climate-relevant processes, along with improved observations, are merged into coherent projections of future climate change. This report describes the models and their ability to simulate current climate.
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Thresholds of Climate Change in Ecosystems

Thresholds of Climate Change in Ecosystems

Date: January 2009
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research
Description: This Report (SAP 4.2) focuses on the thresholds of Climate Change in Ecosystems. As defined in this Synthesis and Assessment Report, 'an ecological threshold is the point at which there is an abrupt change in an ecosystem quality, property, or phenomenon, or where small changes in one or more external conditions produce large and persistent responses in an ecosystem'.Ecological thresholds occur when external factors, positive feedbacks, or nonlinear instabilities in a system cause changes to propagate in a domino-like fashion that is potentially irreversible. This report reviews threshold changes in North American ecosystems that are potentially induced by climatic change and addresses the significant challenges these threshold crossings impose on resource and land managers. Sudden changes to ecosystems and the goods and services they provide are not well understood, but they are extremely important if natural resource managers are to succeed in developing adaptation strategies in a changing world. The report provides an overview of what is known about ecological thresholds and where they are likely to occur. It also identifies those areas where research is most needed to improve knowledge and understand the uncertainties regarding them. The report suggests a suite of potential actions that land and resource managers ...
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Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate. Regions of Focus: North America, Hawaii, Caribbean, and U.S. Pacific Islands

Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate. Regions of Focus: North America, Hawaii, Caribbean, and U.S. Pacific Islands

Date: June 2008
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research.
Description: This document is part of the Synthesis and Assessment Products described in the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) Strategic Plan. Changes in extreme weather and climate events have significant impacts and are among the most serious challenges to society in coping with a changing climate. This Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP 3.3) focuses on weather and climate extremes in a changing climate. Many extremes and their associated impacts are now changing. For example, in recent decades most of North America has been experiencing more unusually hot days and nights, fewer unusually cold days and nights, and fewer frost days. Heavy downpours have become more frequent and intense. Droughts are becoming more severe in some regions, though there are no clear trends for North America as a whole. The power and frequency of Atlantic hurricanes have increased substantially in recent decades, though North American mainland land-falling hurricanes do not appear to have increased over the past century. Outside the tropics, storm tracks are shifting northward and the strongest storms are becoming even stronger. It is well established through formal attribution studies that the global warming of the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced increases in heat-trapping gases. Such ...
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Trends in Emissions of Ozone-Depleting Substances, Ozone Layer Recovery, and Implications for Ultraviolet Radiation Exposure

Trends in Emissions of Ozone-Depleting Substances, Ozone Layer Recovery, and Implications for Ultraviolet Radiation Exposure

Date: November 2008
Creator: US Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research.
Description: This Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP 2.4) focuses on the Climate models. Depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer by human-produced ozone-depleting substances has been recognized as a global environmental issue for more than three decades, and the international effort to address the issue via the United Nations Montreal Protocol marked its 20-year anniversary in 2007. Scientific understanding underpinned the Protocol at its inception and ever since. As scientific knowledge advanced and evolved, the Protocol evolved through amendment and adjustment. Policy-relevant science has documented the rise, and now the beginning decline, of the atmospheric abundances of many ozone-depleting substances in response to actions taken by the nations of the world. Projections are for a return of ozone-depleting chemicals (compounds containing chlorine and bromine) to their "pre-ozone-depletion" (pre-1980) levels by the middle of this century for the midlatitudes; the polar regions are expected to follow suit within 20 years after that. Since the 1980s, global ozone sustained a depletion of about 5 percent in the midlatitudes of both the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere, where most of the Earth's population resides; it is now showing signs of turning the corner towards increasing ozone. The large seasonal depletions in the polar regions are ...
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Atmospheric Aerosol Properties and Climate Impacts

Atmospheric Aerosol Properties and Climate Impacts

Date: January 2009
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research
Description: This report critically reviews current knowledge about global distributions and properties of atmospheric aerosols as they relate to aerosol impacts on climate. It assesses possible steps to substantially reduce uncertainties in aerosol radiative forcing estimates.
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Climate Projections Based on Emissions Scenarios for Long-Lived and Short-Lived Radiatively Active Gases and Aerosols

Climate Projections Based on Emissions Scenarios for Long-Lived and Short-Lived Radiatively Active Gases and Aerosols

Date: September 2008
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research
Description: This report focuses on the Climate Projections Based on Emissions Scenarios. The influence of greenhouse gases and particle pollution on our present and future climate has been widely examined. While both long-lived (e.g., carbon dioxide) and short-lived (e.g., soot) gases and particles affect the climate, other projections of future climate, such as the IPCC reports focus largely on the long-lived gases. This U.S. Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product provides a different emphasis. The authors examine the effect of long-lived greenhouse gases on the global climate based on updated emissions scenarios produced by another CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP 2.1a). In these scenarios, atmospheric concentrations of the long-lived greenhouse gases leveled off, or stabilized, at predetermined levels by the end of the twenty-first century (unlike in the IPCC scenarios). However, the projected future temperature changes fall within the same range as those projected for the latest IPCC report. The authors confirm the robust future warming signature and other associated changes in the climate.
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