A Multi-Model Framework to Achieve Consistent Evaluation of Climate Change Impacts in the United States
Thursday, 18 December 2014: 5:15 PM
The Climate Change Impacts and Risk Analysis (CIRA) project establishes a new multi-model framework to systematically assess the physical impacts, economic damages, and risks from climate change. The primary goal of this framework is to estimate the degree to which climate change impacts and damages in the United States are avoided or reduced in the 21st century under multiple greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions mitigation scenarios. The first phase of the CIRA project is a modeling exercise that included two integrated assessment models and 15 sectoral models encompassing five broad impacts sectors: water resources, electric power, infrastructure, human health, and ecosystems. Three consistent socioeconomic and climate scenarios are used to analyze the benefits of global GHG mitigation targets: a reference scenario and two policy scenarios with total radiative forcing targets in 2100 of 4.5 W/m2 and 3.7 W/m2. In this exercise, the implications of key uncertainties are explored, including climate sensitivity, climate model, natural variability, and model structures and parameters. This presentation describes the motivations and goals of the CIRA project; the design and academic contribution of the first CIRA modeling exercise; and briefly summarizes several papers published in a special issue of Climatic Change. The results across impact sectors show that GHG mitigation provides benefits to the United States that increase over time, the effects of climate change can be strongly influenced by near-term policy choices, adaptation can reduce net damages, and impacts exhibit spatial and temporal patterns that may inform mitigation and adaptation policy discussions.