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Reduced Complexity Model Intercomparison Project Phase 1: introduction and evaluation of global-mean temperature response

Reduced Complexity Model Intercomparison Project Phase 1: introduction and evaluation of global-mean temperature response
Reduced Complexity Model Intercomparison Project Phase 1: introduction and evaluation of global-mean temperature response
Reduced-complexity climate models (RCMs) are critical in the policy and decision making space, and are directly used within multiple Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports to complement the results of more comprehensive Earth system models. To date, evaluation of RCMs has been limited to a few independent studies. Here we introduce a systematic evaluation of RCMs in the form of the Reduced Complexity Model Intercomparison Project (RCMIP). We expect RCMIP will extend over multiple phases, with Phase 1 being the first. In Phase 1, we focus on the RCMs' global-mean temperature responses, comparing them to observations, exploring the extent to which they emulate more complex models and considering how the relationship between temperature and cumulative emissions of CO2 varies across the RCMs. Our work uses experiments which mirror those found in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP), which focuses on complex Earth system and atmosphere–ocean general circulation models. Using both scenario-based and idealised experiments, we examine RCMs' global-mean temperature response under a range of forcings. We find that the RCMs can all reproduce the approximately 1 ∘C of warming since pre-industrial times, with varying representations of natural variability, volcanic eruptions and aerosols. We also find that RCMs can emulate the global-mean temperature response of CMIP models to within a root-mean-square error of 0.2 °C over a range of experiments. Furthermore, we find that, for the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) and Shared Socioeconomic Pathway (SSP)-based scenario pairs that share the same IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)-consistent stratospheric-adjusted radiative forcing, the RCMs indicate higher effective radiative forcings for the SSP-based scenarios and correspondingly higher temperatures when run with the same climate settings. In our idealised setup of RCMs with a climate sensitivity of 3 °C, the difference for the ssp585–rcp85 pair by 2100 is around 0.23∘C(±0.12 °C) due to a difference in effective radiative forcings between the two scenarios. Phase 1 demonstrates the utility of RCMIP's open-source infrastructure, paving the way for further phases of RCMIP to build on the research presented here and deepen our understanding of RCMs.
1991-9603
5175-5190
Nicholls, Zebedee R. J.
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Meinshausen, Malte
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Lewis, Jared
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Gieseke, Robert
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Dommenget, Dietmar
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Dorheim, Kalyn
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Fan, Chen-shuo
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Fuglestvedt, Jan S.
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Gasser, Thomas
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Golüke, Ulrich
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Goodwin, Philip
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Hartin, Corinne
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Hope, Austin P.
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Kriegler, Elmar
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Leach, Nicholas J.
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Marchegiani, Davide
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Mcbride, Laura A.
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Quilcaille, Yann
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Rogelj, Joeri
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Salawitch, Ross J.
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Samset, Bjørn H.
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Sandstad, Marit
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Shiklomanov, Alexey N.
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Skeie, Ragnhild B.
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Smith, Christopher J.
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Smith, Steve
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Tanaka, Katsumasa
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Tsutsui, Junichi
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Xie, Zhiang
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Nicholls, Zebedee R. J.
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Meinshausen, Malte
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Lewis, Jared
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Gieseke, Robert
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Dommenget, Dietmar
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Dorheim, Kalyn
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Fan, Chen-shuo
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Fuglestvedt, Jan S.
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Gasser, Thomas
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Golüke, Ulrich
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Goodwin, Philip
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Hartin, Corinne
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Hope, Austin P.
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Kriegler, Elmar
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Leach, Nicholas J.
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Marchegiani, Davide
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Mcbride, Laura A.
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Quilcaille, Yann
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Rogelj, Joeri
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Salawitch, Ross J.
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Samset, Bjørn H.
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Sandstad, Marit
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Shiklomanov, Alexey N.
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Skeie, Ragnhild B.
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Smith, Christopher J.
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Smith, Steve
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Tanaka, Katsumasa
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Tsutsui, Junichi
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Xie, Zhiang
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Nicholls, Zebedee R. J., Meinshausen, Malte, Lewis, Jared, Gieseke, Robert, Dommenget, Dietmar, Dorheim, Kalyn, Fan, Chen-shuo, Fuglestvedt, Jan S., Gasser, Thomas, Golüke, Ulrich, Goodwin, Philip, Hartin, Corinne, Hope, Austin P., Kriegler, Elmar, Leach, Nicholas J., Marchegiani, Davide, Mcbride, Laura A., Quilcaille, Yann, Rogelj, Joeri, Salawitch, Ross J., Samset, Bjørn H., Sandstad, Marit, Shiklomanov, Alexey N., Skeie, Ragnhild B., Smith, Christopher J., Smith, Steve, Tanaka, Katsumasa, Tsutsui, Junichi and Xie, Zhiang (2020) Reduced Complexity Model Intercomparison Project Phase 1: introduction and evaluation of global-mean temperature response. Geoscientific Model Development, 13 (11), 5175-5190. ().

Record type: Article

Abstract

Reduced-complexity climate models (RCMs) are critical in the policy and decision making space, and are directly used within multiple Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports to complement the results of more comprehensive Earth system models. To date, evaluation of RCMs has been limited to a few independent studies. Here we introduce a systematic evaluation of RCMs in the form of the Reduced Complexity Model Intercomparison Project (RCMIP). We expect RCMIP will extend over multiple phases, with Phase 1 being the first. In Phase 1, we focus on the RCMs' global-mean temperature responses, comparing them to observations, exploring the extent to which they emulate more complex models and considering how the relationship between temperature and cumulative emissions of CO2 varies across the RCMs. Our work uses experiments which mirror those found in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP), which focuses on complex Earth system and atmosphere–ocean general circulation models. Using both scenario-based and idealised experiments, we examine RCMs' global-mean temperature response under a range of forcings. We find that the RCMs can all reproduce the approximately 1 ∘C of warming since pre-industrial times, with varying representations of natural variability, volcanic eruptions and aerosols. We also find that RCMs can emulate the global-mean temperature response of CMIP models to within a root-mean-square error of 0.2 °C over a range of experiments. Furthermore, we find that, for the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) and Shared Socioeconomic Pathway (SSP)-based scenario pairs that share the same IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)-consistent stratospheric-adjusted radiative forcing, the RCMs indicate higher effective radiative forcings for the SSP-based scenarios and correspondingly higher temperatures when run with the same climate settings. In our idealised setup of RCMs with a climate sensitivity of 3 °C, the difference for the ssp585–rcp85 pair by 2100 is around 0.23∘C(±0.12 °C) due to a difference in effective radiative forcings between the two scenarios. Phase 1 demonstrates the utility of RCMIP's open-source infrastructure, paving the way for further phases of RCMIP to build on the research presented here and deepen our understanding of RCMs.

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Accepted/In Press date: 4 September 2020
Published date: 31 October 2020

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Local EPrints ID: 445123
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/445123
DOI:
ISSN: 1991-9603
PURE UUID: ae3d62e9-68d9-4cde-a5da-6a9637b7b10f

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Date deposited: 20 Nov 2020 17:31
Last modified: 20 Nov 2020 17:31

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Contributors

Author: Zebedee R. J. Nicholls
Author: Malte Meinshausen
Author: Jared Lewis
Author: Robert Gieseke
Author: Dietmar Dommenget
Author: Kalyn Dorheim
Author: Chen-shuo Fan
Author: Jan S. Fuglestvedt
Author: Thomas Gasser
Author: Ulrich Golüke
Author:
Author: Corinne Hartin
Author: Austin P. Hope
Author: Elmar Kriegler
Author: Nicholas J. Leach
Author: Davide Marchegiani
Author: Laura A. Mcbride
Author: Yann Quilcaille
Author: Joeri Rogelj
Author: Ross J. Salawitch
Author: Bjørn H. Samset
Author: Marit Sandstad
Author: Alexey N. Shiklomanov
Author: Ragnhild B. Skeie
Author: Christopher J. Smith
Author: Steve Smith
Author: Katsumasa Tanaka
Author: Junichi Tsutsui
Author: Zhiang Xie

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