Climate Model Projections

Target User Community: As with the other resources provided through climate.data.gov, this page is primarily intended for audiences, such as data innovators, who want to use government data to develop tools to help others learn about the impacts of climate change or make decisions in which climate change plays a role. There are a number of important use considerations for the data provided here. Please click here for guidance notes to read before making use of these data.

What types of data are available? The links below provide access to a growing body of data, generated by climate models, relevant to understanding potential future climate change. This includes raw climate model output, as well as model output that has been processed by “bias correction” (removal of some known errors) and/or “downscaling” (addition of finer spatial detail). We refer to these types of information collectively as “climate simulation results.” These data have been produced using the leading climate research models, whose outputs have informed important scientific assessments of climate change and its impacts, such as the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports and the National Climate Assessment. They have been collected into several archives and portals for increased ease of access to outputs from multiple models and types of simulations.

  • Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) CMIP5 Archive: A primary source of global climate model output.
    Sponsor:
    DOE
    Name:
    Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) CMIP5 Archive
    URL:
    http://cmip-pcmdi.llnl.gov/cmip5/
    Summary:
    The Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) was established to identify limitations in general circulation models (GCMs) that simulate the global climate through systematic comparison of results of these models to observations. PCMDI is currently providing leadership in managing the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, Phase 5 (CMIP5) of the World Climate Research Program (WCRP). This includes leading the Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) which stores and distributes the datasets from the CMIP5 climate model simulations. Extensive analysis of these simulations by members of the international climate community has provided a key part of the scientific basis for the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).CMIP5 is meant to provide a framework for coordinated climate change simulations across the international community. CMIP5 promotes a standard set of model simulations in order to: evaluate how realistic the models are in simulating the recent past, interpret observations of recent climate, 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. CMIP5 model output is being increasingly used in climate change impacts and vulnerability assessment across all regions of the United States and the world, and a multitude of socioeconomic sectors and ecological systems. In some cases, these assessments are based directly on CMIP5 model results; in other cases they are based on CMIP5 results that have had value added through process such as spatia “downscaling.”

  • Downscaled CMIP3 and CMIP5 Climate and Hydrology Projections: “Downscaled” (finer-resolution) versions of monthly and daily temperature and precipitation from most of the GCM simulations in the PCMDI CMIP3 and CMIP5 archives, for CONUS, using two downscaling methods. In addition, derived simulations of surface hydrology are provided.
    Sponsor:
    Multiple Fed/Univ/NGO
    Name:
    Downscaled CMIP3 and CMIP5 Climate and Hydrology Projections
    URL:
    http://gdo-dcp.ucllnl.org/downscaled_cmip_projections/
    Summary:
    This archive contains fine spatial resolution translations of climate projections over the contiguous United States (U.S.) developed using two downscaling techniques (monthly BCSD Figure 1, and daily BCCA Figure 2), and hydrologic projections over the western U.S. (roughly the western U.S. Figure 3) corresponding to the monthly BCSD climate projections. Archive content is based on global climate projections from the World Climate Research Programme’s (WCRP’s) Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (CMIP3) multi-model dataset referenced in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report, and the phase 5 (CMIP5) multi-model dataset that informed much of the IPCC Fifth Assessment. The downscaled data archive also includes GCM results that have been interpolated to a common, 1 deg. (latitiude) by 1 deg. (longitude) horizontal grid (but not downscaled), as well as GCM results that have been interpolated to the 1×1 degree grid and “bias corrected,” but not downscaled.

  • NASA NEX DCP30 National Climate Change Viewer (NCCV): Ultra-fine resulution downscaled versions of CMIP5 GCM results, with derived resulst for surface hdrology, for CONUS.
    Sponsor:
    NASA/USGS
    Name:
    NASA NEX DCP30 National Climate Change Viewer (NCCV)
    URL:
    http://www.usgs.gov/climate_landuse/clu_rd/apps/nccv_viewer.asp
    Summary:
    To derive higher resolution data for regional climate change assessments, NASA applied a statistical technique to downscale maximum and minimum air temperature and precipitation from 33 of the CMIP5 climate models to a very fine, 800-m grid over the continental United States (CONUS). The full NEX-DCP30 dataset covers the historical period (1950-2005) and 21st century (2006-2099) under four Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) emission scenarios developed for AR5. The USGS National Climate Change Viewer (NCCV) includes the historical and future climate projections from 30 of the CMIP5 models, downscaled to an 800-m grid over the continental United States under the NASA NEX-DCP30 project, for two of the RCP emission scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5). USGS has also used the downscaled temperature and precipitation data from these 30 CMIP5 models as input to a simple water-balance model to simulate changes in the surface water balance (snow water equivalent, runoff, soil water storage and evaporative deficit) over the historical and future time periods on the 800-m CONUS grid. Combining the climate data with the water balance data in the NCCV provides further insights into the potential for climate-driven change in water resources. The NCCV shows averages of the climate and water balance data over four climatology periods: 1950-2005, 2025-2049, 2050-2074, and 2075-2099. The viewer provides a number of useful tools for characterizing climate change including maps, climographs (plots of monthly averages), histograms that show the distribution or spread of the model simulations, monthly time series spanning 1950-2099, and tables that summarize changes in the quantiles (median and extremes) of the variables. The application also provides access to comprehensive, summary reports in PDF format and CSV files of the temperature and precipitation data for each geographic area.

  • CMIP5 Global Climate Change Viewer (GCCV): Tool to visualize CMIP5 GCM results.
    Sponsor:
    USGS
    Name:
    CMIP5 Global Climate Change Viewer (GCCV)
    URL:
    http://regclim.coas.oregonstate.edu/gccv/
    Summary:
    The Global Climate Change Viewer (GCCV) is used to visualize future temperature and precipitation changes simulated by global climate models in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5). The application allows the user to visualize projected climate change (temperature and precipitation) for each country, for all available models and all Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) emission scenarios (2.6, 4.5, 6.0 and 8.5 [more info]). In addition, the application includes access to the currently available model simulations from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; 21 ka) and mid-Holocene (6 ka), which are part of the Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project phase 3 (PMIP3).

  • Regional Climate Change Viewer (RCCV): Tool to visualize dynamically downscaled GCM results
    Sponsor:
    USGS/Oregon State Univ.
    Name:
    Regional Climate Change Viewer (RCCV)
    URL:
    http://regclim.coas.oregonstate.edu/visualization/rccv/index.html
    Summary:
    The Regional Climate Change Viewer (RCCV) allows a user to visualize model output from the Dynamical Downscaling project as averages of model grid cell values over selected bounding polygons. Currently, averages over telescoping political outlines (states and counties) and hydrologic units (HUC2, HUC4, HUC8) are provided. The RCCV can be used to investigate a subset of the more than 60 variables available in the data sets including air temperature, precipitation, soil moisture, snow water equivalent (SWE), growing degree days and evapotranspiration.

  • MACA CMIP5 Archive: Empirically-downscaled results from CMIP5 GCMs.
    Sponsor:
    Multiple Fed/University of Idaho
    Name:
    MACA CMIP5 Archive
    URL:
    http://maca.northwestknowledge.net/
    Summary:
    This archive contains output from 20 global climate models (GCMs) of the Coupled Model Inter-Comparison Project 5 (CMIP5) for the historical GCM forcings (1950-2005) and the future Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) RCP 4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios (2006-2100). This CMIP5 output is downscaled from the native resolution of the GCMS to either 4-km or ~6-km using the Multivariate Adaptive Constructed Analogs(MACA) method, a statistical downscaling method which utilizes a training dataset (i.e. a meteorological observation dataset) to remove historical biases and match spatial patterns in climate model output.

    The MACA dataset currently has data for the following variables:

    tasmax – Maximum daily temperature near surface
    tasmin – Minimum daily temperature near surface
    rhsmax – Maximum daily relative humidity near surface
    rhsmin – Minimum daily relative humdity near surface
    huss – Average daily specific humidity near surface
    pr – Average daily precipitation amount at surface
    rsds- Average daily downward shortwave radiation at surface
    was – Average daily wind speed near surface
    uas – Average daily eastward component of wind near surface
    vas – Average daily northward component of wind near surface

  • North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP): Dynamically downscaled results from CMIP3 GCMs, for North America.
    Sponsor:
    NSF, DOE, NOAA, EPA, Ouranos (Canada)
    Name:
    North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP)
    URL:
    https://www.narccap.ucar.edu/
    Summary:
    “The North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP) is an international program to produce high resolution climate change simulations in order to investigate uncertainties in regional scale projections of future climate and generate climate change scenarios for use in impacts research.
    NARCCAP modelers have run six regional climate models (RCMs) driven by four atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs) over a domain covering the conterminous United States and most of Canada. The AOGCMs have been forced with the SRES A2 emissions scenario for the 21st century, covering the period 2041-2070. Simulations with these models were also produced for the historical period (1971-2000).”

Scenarios

In addition, scenarios.globalchange.gov provides scenarios: quantitative and narrative descriptions of plausible future conditions that provide assumptions for analyses of potential impacts and responses to climate change. Scenarios are ways to help understand what future conditions might be, with each scenario an example of what might happen under different assumptions. Scenarios generally blend both model output and other information, such as observed trends. They are not predictions or forecasts, and no probabilities are associated with them. Instead, they provide a range of future conditions to bound uncertainty. The scenarios accessed through scenarios.globalchange.gov include climate change, sea level change, and land use and population change. They are based on peer-reviewed, published sources and were used in the development of the National Climate Assessment, which provides scientific findings about climate change and its impacts on U.S. regions and key socioeconomic sectors.