Uncertainty analysis in Integrated Assessment Provides New Insights into the Magnitude of the Climate Change Threat


DOE-funded research conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) indicates a 90% probability range of global surface warming of 3.5°C to 7.4°C with a median of 5.2°C. Other research groups have estimated the probabilities of various climate outcomes based on uncertainty in the physical/biological response of the climate system but the MIT model is the only one that includes detailed multi-nation treatment of uncertainty in projections of human emissions, including population, economic growth and technological change. The MIT study is one of the most comprehensive Integrated Assessment modeling efforts carried out on the potential for global warming in the absence of emissions mitigation. Importantly, it builds on new methods in uncertainty analysis centered on MIT s Integrated Global Systems Model.


A. Sokolov, P. Stone, C. Forest, R. Prinn, M. Sarofim, M. Webster, S. Paltsev, C. Schlosser, D. Kicklighter, S. Dutkiewicz, J. Reilly, C. Wang, B. Felzer, J. Melillo, and H. Jacoby. Probabilistic Forecast for 21st Century Climate Based on Uncertainties in Emissions (without Policy) and Climate Parameters. Journal of Climate. Preliminary manuscript approved for Publication. DOI: 10.1175/2009JCLI2863.1.