Selecting climate change scenarios using impact-relevant sensitivities

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Vano, Julie A., John B. Kim, David E. Rupp, and Philip W. Mote
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Climate impact studies often require the selection of a small number of climate scenarios. Ideally, a subset would have simulations that both (1) appropriately represent the range of possible futures for the variable/s most important to the impact under investigation and (2) come from global climate models (GCMs) that provide plausible results for future climate in the region of interest. We demonstrate an approach to select a subset of GCMs that incorporates both concepts and provides insights into the range of climate impacts. To represent how an ecosystem process responds to projected future changes, we methodically sample, using a simple sensitivity analysis, how an ecosystem variable responds locally to projected regional temperature and precipitation changes. We illustrate our approach in the Pacific Northwest, focusing on (a) changes in streamflow magnitudes in critical seasons for water management and (b) changes in annual vegetation carbon.


Vano, Julie A., John B. Kim, David E. Rupp, and Philip W. Mote. 2015. “Selecting Climate Change Scenarios Using Impact-Relevant Sensitivities.” Geophysical Research Letters 42 (13): 2015GL063208. doi:10.1002/2015GL063208.