Uncertainty and risk in climate projections for the 21st century

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Author(s) Tomassini, Lorenzo, Knutti, Reto, Plattner, Gian-Kasper, van Vuuren, Detlef P., Stocker, Thomas F., Howarth, Richard B., Borsuk, Mark E.
Publication Type Journal Items, Publication Status: Published
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Title Uncertainty and risk in climate projections for the 21st century
Subtitle Comparing mitigation to non-intervention scenarios
Author(s) Tomassini, Lorenzo
Knutti, Reto
Plattner, Gian-Kasper
van Vuuren, Detlef P.
Stocker, Thomas F.
Howarth, Richard B.
Borsuk, Mark E.
Journal or Series Title Climatic change
Volume Number 103
Issue Number 3-4
Start Page 399
End Page 422
ISSN 0165-0009
Publisher Springer
Publication Place Dordrecht
Publication Date 2010-12
Abstract Probabilistic climate projections based on two SRES scenarios, an IMAGE reference scenario and five IMAGE mitigation scenarios (all of them multi-gas scenarios) using the Bern2 5D climate model are calculated Probability distributions of climate model parameters that are constrained by observations are employed as input for the climate model The sensitivity of the resulting distributions with respect to prior assumptions on climate sensitivity is then assessed Due to system inertia, prior assumptions on climate sensitivity play a minor role in the case of temperature projections for the first half of the 21st century, but these assumptions have a considerable influence on the distributions of the projected temperature increase in the year 2100 Upper and lower probabilities for exceeding 2 degrees C by the year 2100 are calculated for the different scenarios Only the most stringent mitigation measures lead to low probabilities for exceeding the 2 degrees C threshold This finding is robust with respect to our prior assumptions on climate sensitivity Further, probability distributions of total present-value damages over the period 2000-2100 for the different scenarios are calculated assuming a wide range of damage cost functions, and the sensitivity of these distributions with respect to the assumed discount rate is investigated Absolute values of damage costs depend heavily on the chosen damage cost function and discount rate Nevertheless, some robust conclusions are possible.
DOI 10.1007/s10584.009.9763.3
Additional Notes Received 24 June 2008, Accepted 30 October 2009, Published online 9 January 2010
Document Type Article
Publication Status Published
Language English
Assigned Organisational Unit(s) 03731
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NEBIS System Number 000040037
Source Database ID WOS-000285069300005
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  author = "Tomassini, Lorenzo and Knutti, Reto and Plattner, Gian-Kasper and van Vuuren, Detlef P. and Stocker, Thomas F. and Howarth, Richard B. and Borsuk, Mark E.",
  title = "{U}ncertainty and risk in climate projections for the 21st century: {C}omparing mitigation to non-intervention scenarios",
  journal = "Climatic change",
  year = 2010,
  volume = "103",
  number = "3-4",
  pages = "399--422",
  month = dec,

E-Citations record created: Fri, 14 Jan 2011, 16:44:53 CET