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Climate Scenarios and Projections: The Known, Unknown and Unknowable as Applied to California

AGCI Elements of Change Report

This report utilizes California as a regional case study to categorize and visualize scientific uncertainties and assess the state of the art emission and climate models with an emphasis on the regional scale. The report addresses the following key questions: 1) What are the range of possible SRES scenarios; how likely are they; how can subjective probabilities be assigned, and at what levels of confidence; what methods are most promising in such estimation; and how vexing is the lack of subjective probabilities for regional analyses for the California case study? 2) How well do GCMs do at producing meteorological variables at regional scales, and which of the various strategies to improve GCMs provide the greatest direct aid in improving knowledge of and confidence in the California regional modeling efforts and assessment strategies? 3) Utilizing California as a regional case study, how can the assessment and eventual reduction of uncertainties upstream, combined with improved downscaling models, better inform regional decision-making and resource management, and what are the stakes? 4) What elements of integrated analyses are essentially unknowable? Can robust strategies (Lempert and Schlesinger, 2000) be developed in spite of those aspects of analysis?

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  • regional studies
  • assessments
  • mitigation
  • climate change
  • adaptation
  • economics