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CMIP5 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project

At a September 2008 meeting involving 20 climate modeling groups from around the world, the World Climate Research Programme's Working Group on Coupled Modelling agreed to promote a new set of coordinated climate model experiments. These experiments comprise the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). CMIP5 will notably provide a multi-model context for 1) assessing the mechanisms responsible for model differences in poorly understood feedbacks associated with the carbon cycle and with clouds, 2) examining climate “predictability” and exploring the ability of models to predict climate on decadal time scales, and, more generally, 3) determining why similarly forced models produce a range of responses.

CMIP5 is meant to provide a framework for coordinated climate change experiments for the next five years and thus includes simulations for assessment in the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) as well as others that extend beyond AR5. CMIP5 is not, however, meant to be comprehensive; it cannot possibly include all the different model intercomparison activities that might be of value, and it is expected that various groups and interested parties will develop additional experiments that might build on and augment the experiments described here.

CMIP5 promotes a standard set of model simulations in order to:

  • evaluate how realistic the models are in simulating the recent past,
  • provide projections of future climate change on two time scales, near term (out to about 2035) and long term (out to 2100 and beyond), and
  • understand some of the factors responsible for differences in model projections, including quantifying some key feedbacks such as those involving clouds and the carbon cycle
Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
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