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Research published in this week's issue of Nature Communications reveals a considerable chance for an ice-free Arctic Ocean at global warming limits stipulated in the Paris Agreement. Scientists from South Korea, Australia and the U.S. used results from climate models and a new statistical approach to calculate the likelihood for Arctic sea ice to disappear at different warming levels.
Future climate projections are usually obtained from global climate computer models. These models are based on several hundred thousand lines of computer code, developed to solve the physical equations of the atmosphere, ocean, sea-ice and other climate components. Applying future greenhouse gas concentrations, each computer model produces a version of what the future of the Earth's climate might look like. Transforming this information into practical decisions is not easy, because of the remaining uncertainties in the magnitude of future climate change on regional scales. Decision making in a warming world requires an understanding of the probabilities of certain climatic events to occur.
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Up to now, it has been difficult to extract meaningful probabilities from climate models, because these models sometimes share common computer code or make similar assumptions regarding the implementation of less well understood processes, such as clouds or vegetation. To obtain more accurate probability estimates for future climate change in the Arctic region, the research team has developed a novel statistical method which translates results from a suite of climate computer model simulations to probabilities. This method ranks the models in terms of how well they agree with present-day observations and accounts also for inter-dependencies amongst the models.
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Economic projections are useless with out the exact timer they will occur