The Science of Climate Responsibility

Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Dann Mitchell, Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom, Peter C Frumhoff, Union of Concerned Scientists, Cambridge, MA, United States, Sarah Sparrow, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom and Myles Robert Allen, University of Oxford, Physics, Oxford, United Kingdom
Extreme events linked with human induced climate change have now been reported around the globe. Among the most troublesome impacts are increased wild fires, failed crop yields, extreme flooding and increase human mortality (Hansen and Cramer, 2015). Many of these impacts are predicted to increase into the future. Non-industrialised communities around the world will be the least capable of adapting, while the industrial communities, who are often responsible for historical carbon emissions, will find adaptation easier. Such a situation lends itself to the issue of responsibility. In order to assess responsibility, it must first be established where the major carbon and methane emissions are originating. It must then be estimated how these emissions project onto localised climate, which is often the primary indicator behind impacts on society.

In this study, we address this question using a 25 km regional climate model capable of simulating climate thousands of times under the Weather@home citizen science project. The use of this framework allows us to generate huge data sample sizes, which can be put in the context of very low sample sizes of observational data. We concentrate on the 2003 heat wave over Europe, but show how this method could be applied to less data rich regions, including the Middle East and the Horn of Africa.