Good practice for the usage of climate model simulation results - a discussion paper
1 Climate Environment Consulting Potsdam GmbH, Potsdam, Germany
2 Hessian Agency for Environment and Geology, Hessian Centre on Climate Change, Wiesbaden, Germany
3 Brandenburg State Office of Environment, Health and Consumer Protection, Potsdam, Germany
Environmental Systems Research 2012, 1:9 doi:10.1186/2193-2697-1-9Published: 28 September 2012
This paper presents guidelines and examples of good practice for the usage of climate model simulation results and some rationale for their application. These guidelines are relevant to climate modellers as well as to climate impact modellers and users of direct climate model output, e.g., for decision support. The topics covered here encompass general information on climate model data as well as recommendations for their use, interpretation, and presentation. This includes subjects such as definition of ‘climate projection’ versus ‘climate forecast’, recommendations for the application of scenarios, temporal and spatial resolution, reference periods, treatment of model biases and significance, treatment of different model generations, and optimal use of colour selection and scaling. Special attention is given to results from multiple simulations (ensembles), as evidence is mounting that there is a need to take ensemble results into account for decision making.
The paper represents the view of an ongoing discussion of German federal and state environmental agencies in a semi-annual meeting series and aims at framing a set of minimum requirements and prerequisites for climate impact projects and decision support. Thus, the recommendations we give are under constant further development and we don’t claim completeness. However, since we frequently are asked to share out our discussion results to other user groups we herewith provide some well discussed topics and hope to improve on the communication between the climate modellers and the users of climate model results.