New Process for Developing Integrated Scenarios for Climate Change Research and Decision Support


The implications of climate change for the environment and society depend on responses of the Earth system to changes in radiative forcings and on human responses that change technology, economies, lifestyle, and policy. Uncertainties in future forcings of and responses to climate change require the use of future “scenarios” to explore the potential consequences of different response options. In the February 10 issue of the Journal Nature an interdisciplinary research team will describe a new process for creating plausible scenarios for climate change research and assessment. Central to the new process is the concept that a diverse range of socioeconomic and technological development scenarios can achieve four potential radiative forcing pathways. In the next phase of the process climate modelers and socio-economic/ecological researchers will work to develop both climate scenarios and detailed socio-economic and environmental scenarios. The new process will reduce the time lags between the creation of emissions scenarios, their use in climate modeling, and the application of the resulting climate scenarios in research on impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability.


Moss, R. H., J. A. Edmonds, K. Hibbard, M. Manning, S. K. Rose, D. P. van Vuuren, T. R. Carter, S. Emori, M. Kainuma, T. Kram, G. Meehl, J. Mitchell, N. Nakicenovic, K. Riahi, S. J. Smith, R. J. Stouffer, A. Thomson, J. Weyant, and T. Wilbanks. 2010. “The Next Generation of Scenarios for Climate Change Research and Assessment,” Nature 463, 747–756. DOI: 10.1038/nature08823.