Simple uncertainty frameworks for selecting weighting schemes and interpreting multimodel ensemble climate change experiments
Journal of Climate
American Meteorological Society
Future climate change projections are often derived from ensembles of simulations from multiple global circulationmodels using heuristicweighting schemes. This study provides amore rigorous justification for this by introducing a nested family of three simple analysis of variance frameworks. Statistical frameworks are essential in order to quantify the uncertainty associated with the estimate of the mean climate change response. The most general framework yields the "one model, one vote" weighting scheme often used in climate projection. However, a simpler additive framework is found to be preferable when the climate change response is not strongly model dependent. In such situations, the weighted multimodel mean may be interpreted as an estimate of the actual climate response, even in the presence of shared model biases. Statistical significance tests are derived to choose the most appropriate framework for specific multimodel ensemble data. The framework assumptions are explicit and can be checked using simple tests and graphical techniques. The frameworks can be used to test for evidence of nonzero climate response and to construct confidence intervals for the size of the response. The methodology is illustrated by application to North Atlantic storm track data from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) multimodel ensemble. Despite large variations in the historical storm tracks, the cyclone frequency climate change response is not found to be model dependent over most of the region. This gives high confidence in the response estimates. Statistically significant decreases in cyclone frequency are found on the flanks of the North Atlantic storm track and in the Mediterranean basin. © 2013 American Meteorological Society.
This study was conducted as part of a studentship funded by the Natural Environment Research Council under the Testing and Evaluating Model Predictions of European Storms (TEMPEST) project. We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling, which is responsible for CMIP, and we thank the climate modeling groups (listed in Table 1 of this paper) for producing and making available their model output. For CMIP the U.S. Department of Energy’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison provides coordinating support and led development of software infrastructure in partnership with the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals.
This is the final version of the article. Available from the American Meteorological Society via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 26 (12), pp. 4017 - 4037